Apple Brown Betty

apple betty3

Apple pie is the quintessential fall dessert. It evokes memories of jumping in the leaves, cuddling up in a cozy sweater, and stuffing your face at Thanksgiving dinner. Making a delicious homemade apple pie isn’t all that difficult but it can be a little time consuming Instead, when a craving for apple pie hits try making an Apple Brown Betty! It has all of the same delicious flavor as an apple pie minus the hassle.

An Apple Brown Betty is very similar to a crumble or crisp. It’s a traditional American dessert made from apples that are topped with delicious sweetened crumbs. It is unclear of the exact origin of this dessert however, it was first mentioned in a cookbook dating all the way back to 1864! Just like its apple pie counterpart, it pairs really well with a nice, cold scoop of vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

The recipe that I used came from one of my most favorite cookbooks, The New England Orchard Cookbook: Harvesting Dishes & Desserts from the Region’s Bounty . If you love farm fresh fruit such as apples, berries, and peaches this would be a fabulous addition to your cookbook library. It features information on local farms all around the New England region (CT, MA, RI, VT, and NH) as well as a bounty of wonderful and delicious recipes like Streusel Spiced Cider Muffins, Orchard Cake, Apple Stuffing and more!

For this recipe I made a few, very slight changes. In place of the maple syrup that was called for I used pure apple syrup, I prefer the flavor over maple. The instructions said to use cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg to taste but I instead tossed the apples with a cinnamon sugar blend and apple pie spice which is a mix of all the flavors that are called for. I also substituted Granny Smith apples for McIntosh. In general you can substitute one baking apple for another in most apple recipes. The top apples for baking are: Granny Smith, Jonagold, Braeburn, Cortland, and Honeycrisp.  

Ingredients

  • 8 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 maple syrup
  • Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 full sleeve of graham crackers
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • Vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a large bowl, combine the apples with the syrup and spices. Toss to coat. Place in a medium casserole dish and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the graham crackers, melted butter, and brown sugar. Using your hands, crumble up the crackers and mix everything together.

Pat the crumb mixture all over the top of the apples. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the apples up bubbling up through the topping and the crust is golden brown.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream.

**Tip** – You can also use a food processor to turn the graham crackers into crumbs.

apple betty2

 

Crazy Sprinkle Four Layer Rainbow Cake

Sprinkle Cake 1

My daughter loves sprinkles and all things rainbow so for her 9th birthday this week I decided to make her a very special rainbow cake. It was four layers of vibrant vanilla cake frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream  and then covered in an entire container of sprinkles. It was the perfect cake for my sweet little girl who is growing up way too fast, I could’ve sworn she was just born yesterday!!

For the four layers, I used the Wilton Easy Layers Cake Loaf Pan 4 Pc . These pans are great, they are small and shallow but when layered together they create an impressive cake. You can also get them in various shapes such as scalloped, square, and round. If you enjoy baking cakes they are worth adding to your pan collection.

For the vanilla cake I tried out Buddy Valastro’s (The Cake Boss) recipe that was featured on the “Rachael Ray” show. You can find the original recipe here . It was a fairly moist and flavorful cake and it paired nicely with the buttercream frosting that I made but I think if I used this recipe again I would like to enhance the vanilla flavor even further. I like a really deep, rich vanilla cake and I think this one came up a little short even after doubling the amount of vanilla that was called for in the recipe. In the end, the cake as a whole was excellent and everyone enjoyed it so I will check this recipe off as a success!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract OR vanilla paste
  • Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
  • Jar of rainbow sprinkles

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray each of the four layer pans with cooking spray and then place a sheet of parchment paper (cut to size) in the bottom of each one, spray again with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute, just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat. Pour batter into the prepared baking pans.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes then turn them out of the pan onto the rack. Cool completely before frosting.

On a rectangular dish or cake board, place the first layer of cake and frost with a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat until all of the layers are stacked. Then apply a thin crumb coat to the cake, place in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow it to set. Frost the cake with the remainder of the buttercream and then coat the entire cake in sprinkles. Gently press in the sprinkles on the sides of the cake to ensure they stick. Store the cake in the fridge until serving time.

**Tip** – Be sure and adjust the cooking time as needed if using different sized pans.

Sprinkle Cake 2

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

Swiss Mer Btrcrm

Admittedly, I usually dislike homemade frosting because so often it’s overly sweet thanks to the 4,000 cups of confectioners sugar many recipes call for. When I was baking my daughter’s birthday cake this year I decided it was the perfect time to try my hand at a Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting instead and I am so glad that I did. It was SO much better than any other homemade frosting I’ve ever made, it had a really nice, well-balanced flavor.

I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman’s website, you can find the original recipe here . It was very easy to make however, it takes a little more time than other types of frosting because you need to cook the egg whites and sugar. A good candy thermometer will come in handy for that step, if you don’t have one you’ll just have to pay very close attention to the egg and sugar mixture as it cooks so that the right consistency is achieved. The mixture will increase in volume as it cooks and when it’s ready it should be very shiny, smooth, and have the consistency of melted marshmallow. This process took about 20 minutes until the desired temperature (160ºF) and consistency was reached.

Also, although not required, a stand mixer really makes the whole job so much easier but if you don’t have a stand mixer, a handheld mixer will do just fine. The finished product has a pronounced almond flavor thanks to the added extract. If you prefer a more straight vanilla flavor simply substitute the almond extract that is called for in the recipe with additional vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted Butter, room temperature and cut into tablespoons
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt

Place egg whites and sugar in the metal bowl of a stand mixer. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water, do not allow it to touch the water. Whisk or stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to approximately 160ºF. If attempting without a thermometer, sugar should be dissolved with no graininess when a bit is rubbed between two fingers. It will be hot to the touch.

Immediately place the bowl on the stand mixer and whip on high using the whisk attachment until frosting has become thick and glossy, forming a stiff peak. Continue to whip frosting until the bowl feels room temperature to the touch, a total of about 10 minutes.

Switch the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, drop in butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. If frosting appears curdled or clumpy at any time, increase speed to medium-high and beat until smooth.

Once all of the butter has been incorporated, mix in extracts and pinch of salt. If needed, continue beating until smooth.

**Tip** – Sweets frosted with Swiss Meringue Buttercream may be stored on the counter for a few days or in the refrigerator. If storing in the refrigerator, bring to room temperature before serving.

Dutch Apple Pie

Happiness is Homemade Pie

Technically it’s still summer, for a few more days anyway, but my heart and my head are already in the fall which also happens to be my most favorite time of year. There is nothing better than cozy sweaters, a crisp breeze on your face, and of course, apples! What better way to herald in the start of apple season than with a homemade, perfectly spiced, warm Dutch Apple Pie. It’s the quintessential fall dessert and it’s perfect to serve at any holiday gathering or just as a weekend treat. Feeling naughty? Top your warm pie with a nice, big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Absolute perfection!

I’ve always been a huge apple lover and although I wouldn’t kick a slice of double crust apple pie to the curb, there is really nothing better than a slice topped with sugary, buttery crumbs. This recipe has become my “go-to” for Dutch Apple Pie and the best part is that it’s really quite easy to pull together. If you’re feeling ambitious, go ahead and make your own pie dough but if you want to keep this super simple, a store-bought crust works just as well. I prefer to use the Pillsbury Pie Crusts that you roll out, they can be found right in the refrigerator section of the supermarket. Also, I like to use a 10″ deep dish pie plate so that I can pile my apples high without risking overflow in the oven.

You can use any type of firm baking apple in this pie such as a Northern Spy, Cortland, or Gala. I prefer to use either all Granny Smith or a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp apples. Choose whatever apple appeals to your palate, just stay away from soft snack apples such as a Red Delicious, they will become applesauce in the oven. Be sure to let this pie cool down before cutting into it, if you slice into it while it’s still steaming hot your pie will be very runny and it won’t hold it’s shape on the plate. Allow it to come down to almost room temperature before slicing in order to maintain its structural integrity.

Ingredients

For the pie filling

  • 1 pie shell or roll of store-bought  pie dough
  • 5 cups of peeled, cored, and sliced apples (any firm baking variety will do)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter

For the crumb toppping

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Lightly spray a pie plate with cooking spray then lay the pie dough into the plate. Gently press the dough into place.

To make the pie filling – Place the sliced apples in a large bowl and toss with a little lemon juice to prevent browning. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and toss gently to combine.

In a large saucepan over low to medium heat, melt the butter. Cook the apples in the butter for about 8-10 minutes or until very slightly softened. Set aside.

To make the crumb topping – In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, oats, and lemon zest. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or fork, the mixture should become nice and crumbly.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apple filling to the prepared pie plate. Cover the top of the pie with the crumb topping, gently pressing the crumbs into place.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the crumb topping is browned and the apples are tender. If the pie is browning too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil until it’s done baking. Cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm and store in the refrigerator.

Dutch Apple Pie

Fresh Peaches and Cream Prosecco Cake

Prosecco Cake

What is better than a fresh juicy peach? A fresh juicy peach soaked in sugar and Prosecco and then layered between a delicate Prosecco soaked sponge cake. This is the perfect cake to bring to your next BBQ, it’s light and fresh and has all of the flavor of summer.

The recipe is originally from Better Homes, and Gardens and can be found right here . I followed the recipe as written making only two minor substitutions. Instead of vanilla extract I used vanilla paste simply because I love the flecks of vanilla throughout the whipped cream. If you don’t have vanilla paste on hand, extract is perfectly fine. Also, I substituted the sour cream called for in the whipped cream topping for vanilla yogurt. I don’t like the strong tang of sour cream, vanilla yogurt is a much more subtle flavor and it worked out beautifully in the final product. This is a fairly delicate cake so to ensure that it doesn’t fall apart as you remove it from the pan, I recommend coating your pans with cooking spray then lining the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Also, take care when assembling the cake, once the layers have been soaked in Prosecco they will be fragile.

This was an absolutely delicious cake with a very pronounced Prosecco flavor. The whipped cream and cake structure held up beautifully during transport and even the following day. This recipe is definitely a keeper, enjoy!

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • cup Prosecco or sparkling rose

For the filling

  • medium ripe peaches, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Prosecco 
  • 2 tbs granulated sugar

For the topping

  • cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste

Instructions

For the cake – Allow the eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or place in warm water for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease three 8.5″ round baking pans.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs on high for 5 minutes or until thickened and light. Beat on medium an additional 5 minutes while gradually adding sugar, 1/4 cup at a time. (Batter will be light and fluffy) Beat in flour mixture on medium low until just combined.

In a small saucepan heat the milk and butter until the butter melts, stirring occasionally. Add to the batter, beating until combined. Add in almond extract and mix until combined. The batter should be smooth and shiny. Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove cakes from the pans and cool completely on wire racks set over a shallow pan or tray. Once cooled, poke the cakes all over. Slowly pour the Prosecco over the cakes, about 1/3 cup per cake. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and chill 2 to 24 hours.

For the fresh peach filling – In a large bowl combine peaches, Prosecco, and sugar, stir well. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Using a potato masher or fork, mash the peaches into a coarse mixture. Set aside.

For the whipped cream – In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the heavy cream, vanilla yogurt, sugar, and vanilla paste on medium until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

To assemble – Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with half the fresh peach filling. Top with second cake layer and spread with remaining peach filling. Top with third cake layer and spread the top and sides with whipped cream. To garnish, top with a sliced peach fanned out in a circle pattern. Store the finished cake in the fridge.

Prosecco Cake Slice

Creamy Dreamy Cheesecake

Cheesecake.jpg

What is better than a slice of dense, creamy cheesecake? Literally almost nothing! This is my most favorite cheesecake recipe ever, it’s one that my mother-in-law has been baking since my husband was itty-bitty. She has no recollection of where she first came across this recipe but let me tell you, it is TO DIE FOR. It’s rich, dense and has amazing flavor! The best part? It’s also super easy to make!

This go around I baked my cheesecake with a scrumptious, sugary Graham Cracker Crust but in the past I’ve also used an Oreo™ cookie crust which is equally delicious. When I use the Oreo crust I always cover the whole cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache and than top it with crushed Oreo™ cookies. For this version however, I kept it simple and did just a light coating of ganache on just the top.

Cheesecake is a great dessert because you can make it so many ways from a large cake to small, individual servings. Top it will fudge, fresh fruit, ganache, crushed cookies or anything else you can think of! Some people like to serve cheesecake at room temp but I love it ice cold out of the fridge, I feel that it’s more dense that way and I’m just not a fan of mushy, warm cheesecake. However you choose to serve it jut follow a few simple tips and your cheesecake is sure to be a hit!

  • Pre-bake your crust
  • Always start with room temperature ingredients, this prevents a lumpy batter.
  • Don’t scrimp, always use full fat cream cheese.
  • Add a little starch to help avoid cracking and to make slicing easier.
  • Mix on low and don’t overbeat the batter, incorporating too much air into the batter will ruin the texture of the cheesecake.
  • Use a water bath to create a steamy environment which develops a smooth, creamy cheesecake. To create a water bath, wrap the bottom of a springform pan in tin foil and place the cheesecake directly in a pan of water before putting in the oven. Alternatively, place a pan of water in the oven on the rack below the cheesecake. Both will generate steam while baking.
  • No peeking! Don’t open the oven door while baking.
  • Don’t overbake the cheesecake, take it out when the edges look done and the center is still slightly jiggly.
  • Before leaving the cheesecake to cool in the oven, take it out and run a thin offset spatula or knife around the edge to loosen it from the sides of the pan. This will help to prevent cracking as the cheesecake cools and pulls away from the pan.
  • Cool the cheesecake gradually letting in sit in the turned off oven with the door cracked open, then let it cool completely on the stovetop. 
  • ALWAYS chill your cheesecake for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  • If the top cracks, don’t panic! A simple sour cream frosting, chocolate ganache, or even fruit will hide all sins.

Ingredients

  • Graham Cracker Crust
  • 5 (8 oz) packs of cream cheese
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 5 large eggs + 2 yolks
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Pre-bake your crust in a 10″ springform pan for 7-8 minutes at 350ºF. Set aside to cool slightly.

Add the softened, room temperature cream cheese to the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low until smooth, about a minute. Add the sugar and flour, mix. Once the dry ingredients have been combined, add in the vanilla, almond, and heavy cream. Mix until smooth then add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low after each addition. Continue to mix on low speed until the batter is shiny and smooth. Grease the sides of the springform pan that holds the crust, pour the batter in and smooth the top.

Place the cheesecake in a water bath and bake at 500ºF for 10 minutes, then lower the heat to 250ºF and bake for about an hour or until the edges are baked and the center is slightly jiggly.

Once the cheesecake is done baking turn off the oven and remove the cheesecake, run an offset spatula or knife around the edge to loosen the sides from the pan. Place the cheesecake back in the warm oven (not in the water bath) with the door slightly open and cool for about an hour. Remove from oven and cool completely on the stovetop. Chill in the fridge for at least 6 house, preferably overnight. Enjoy!

 

 

Graham Cracker Crust

Graham Crust 2.jpg

I love a good graham cracker crust but the ones in the store always seem so bland and I hate all of the extra preservatives they add to it. A while back I came across this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it’s been my “go to” crust ever since. For the original recipe click here .

This crust comes together super quick, I do everything right in my food processor, and it has a really delicious, sugary texture and taste. It goes great with pudding pies and cheesecakes or any other dessert which calls for a graham cracker crust. I like to use brown sugar instead of the granulated sugar that is suggested and I also add a teaspoon of vanilla paste for a little extra flavor boost. This recipe is made with honey graham crackers but feel free to try out chocolate or cinnamon grahams as well depending on what type of dessert you’re making. This is an excellent graham cracker crust and I promise, once you make this one you’ll never go back to pre-made crusts again!

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 6 Tablespoons (87g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup (67g) granulated OR brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)

Instructions

Crush the graham cracker sheets using a food processor, pulse until crushed and crumbly. Alternatively, crush them in a zipped top bag with a rolling pin.

Add the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla paste to the food processor and pulse a few times until combined. The mixture will be thick, coarse, and sandy.

Press the mixture into the bottom of the dish or springform pan and slightly up the sides. This crust will fit into a 9 – 10 inch pan. Make sure it is tight and compact, the crust will be thick. For a baked dessert, pre-bake the crust for 10 minutes at 300°F (149°C) or 7-8 minutes at 350°F (177°C). For a no-bake dessert, chill the crust for 2 hours before using in your recipe.

**Tip** – Freeze the prepared crust in your pan for up to 3 months. Thaw before using in your recipe. For shorter storage, keep the prepared crust in the refrigerator for a few days before using in your recipe.

Rocky Road Layer Cake

Rocky Road Cake 1

This past Father’s Day I wanted to make my husband an extra special, over the top cake to celebrate so I decided on this amazing Rocky Road Layer Cake. It was every bit as delicious as it looks and it was so decadent too! I found this recipe on the Preppy Kitchen blog, the original recipe along with step-by-step pictures can be found here: Rocky Road Cake .

While no one part of this recipe was what I consider to be hard to make, overall it was a time-consuming cake to pull together. You have to first bake the cakes and cool them, make the filling, make the ganache and then assemble it all. The recipe calls for the layers to be baked in three 6X2″ pans however, I used the Wilton 2105-0112 Easy Layers! 5-Piece Cake Pan Set, 6-Inch and they worked out great. There is enough batter to make a full five layers for this cake however, during assembly I only used four. At that point it was tall enough and adding the last layer would’ve made the cake a little too unstable so I just set the extra layer aside.

Before assembling the cake make sure to trim the tops of the layers so that you have a flat surface. If there is any curvature to the layers the cake will be unbalanced and unstable. Also, do not overfill the layers or you will find that they slip and slide too much which will also effect the structure of the cake. After assembling the layers I ended up with extra ganache and filling which you can store in the fridge to use for another recipe. Once the cake was complete, I immediately placed it into the fridge to chill and set-up. Because it was also hot outside I decided to leave the cake in the fridge until it was served, I found that allowing it to sit at room temperature caused the chocolate and filling to begin to soften.

To keep the layers moist, you can brush each layer with simple syrup before adding the filling. To make a simple syrup simply combine equal parts water and granulated sugar. Warm on the stovetop until the sugar melts and you’re left with a syrup. Cool slightly and then brush directly on the cake using a pastry brush.

Ingredients

For the Cake

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 13 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • tbs coffee
  • tbs vanilla paste
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • cup cocoa

For the Ganache

  • cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • cup toasted walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows

For the Buttercream

  • 2/3 cup semi sweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut chocolate (Nutella™), melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 6-by-2-inch cake pans.

  2. In a small bowl mix together the buttermilk, sour cream coffee and vanilla paste.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

  4. In a the bowl of a standing mixer beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in flour mixture and buttermilk in three alternating batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

  5. Mix just until almost combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bottom and complete the mixing.

  6. Divide batter between pans, smooth tops. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in pans 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

For the Buttercream

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt and melted chocolate. If buttercream is a bit thick you can add a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to thin it out.

For the Ganache

  1. Scald the cream in a small saucepan over medium. Bring it just to a boil then pour over the semisweet chocolate. Let sit for two minutes then whisk until smooth. Reserve about 2/3 a cup of the ganache for the drip. Mix in the walnuts and fold in the marshmallows once cool.

To Assemble

  1. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the top edge of the first layer. Use a spatula to fill the center with the ganache. Place the next layer on top and repeat. Cover the outside with buttercream and smooth.

  2. Drizzle the ganache on top of the cake. If it’s thickened then you can mix in a bit more cream and zap in the microwave for a few seconds at 50% power.

  3. Pile the extra rocky road mixture on top of the cake and then press in a few extra marshmallows and walnuts and give a final light drizzle of chocolate.

Rocky Road Cake 2

Rainbow Cookie Cake with Crumbs

rainbow cake 1

A good friend of mine said it best, “This cake is everything“. I couldn’t agree with her more, it really is everything. EVERYTHING that I absolutely love in a good cake. Incredible flavor, moist cake, rich chocolate ganache, and chewy, sugary crumbs. It was pure heaven.

This cake came about because a picture started floating around Facebook of this amazing looking rainbow cookie cake covered in coffee cake crumbs. I searched for a recipe online but the only mention I found were of links leading me to the Donut Diva located in Astoria, Queens. Evidently, this is one of their specialties however, I couldn’t justify the drive out there or the cost. So instead, I decided to hack the recipe myself and make my own version.

A few years ago on Pinterest I came across an Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake from a blog called Always Order Dessert . It was moist, delicious, and tasted EXACTLY like a traditional rainbow cookie. I decided to use that recipe for the cake however, instead of baking the layers as cake rounds I baked three small rectangular cakes using Reynold’s Disposable Cake Pans. (I believe the size was roughly 11X9’ish – they were small, shallow rectangular bakers) I then covered the cake with a nice, rich layer of ganache and topped it with a crumb topping from Martha Stewart.  This cake was decadent, delicious, and probably one of my most favorite recipes to date. This one is definitely a keeper!

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs, room temperature
  • 12 ounces of almond paste, grated with a box grater
  • 1 tbs pure almond extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • pink, green, AND yellow food coloring (look for gel food coloring, it is more vibrant)
  • 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves
  • powdered sugar

For the ganache

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the crumbs

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour the cake pans, place a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, then set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat for 3 more minutes. Add the grated almond paste and almond extract and beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Slowly add to the almond paste batter and mix until well combined. Batter will look slightly lumpy.

Divide the batter equally into 3 bowls and dye each one a different color. (pink, yellow, and green)

Pour the batter into the pans, smooth out the top and bake until done, about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes and then invert onto a cooling rack. Remove the parchment paper and cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, make the crumbs. Mix the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon together. Add in the butter and work the mixture together with your fingers (or a pastry blender) until large clumps form. Spread out the clumps onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.**

While the crumbs are cooling, prepare the ganache. In a small saucepan combine the butter and heavy cream. Cook over low heat until the butter melts and bubbles begin to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat, place the chocolate into the pan and allow it to sit for about a minute. Stir the mixture together until well combined and smooth. Add in the vanilla and give it a final stir. Let the ganache cool for about 15 minutes.

To assemble the cake – Place the pink layer on a platter, spread the apricot preserves all over the cake. Add the yellow layer, spread the raspberry preserves all over the cake. Add the green layer, spread the ganache all over the top allowing some to run down the sides of the cake. Smooth out the ganache with an offset spatula and then let it sit for about 5 minutes. Lastly, cover the top of the cake with the crumbs. Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar. Place in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to just set the ganache. Serve cake at room temperature.

**NOTE REGARDING THE CRUMBS**  – When the crumbs are baking they will spread and create a uniform “blob”. As they bake, move them around the pan with a spatula. When they come out of the oven place them on a dish lined with a paper towel, it will help to absorb the excess butter. Place the dish in the freezer for about 5 minutes. Remove, break up the crumbs and move them around then place in the freezer for another 3-5 minutes, repeat. Continue this until the crumbs are cooled down and fully clumped. About 15 minutes. Do not leave them in the freezer long enough to freeze, they just need to come together while cooling and form lumps. 

rainbow cake 2

Chocolate Whoopie Pie Cake

whoopiepiecake

Who doesn’t love a good whoopie pie? Chocolate cake and marshmallow creme together is pretty much perfection. Instead of making individual sized whoopie pies I decided to turn this treat into a decadent, ooey gooey, delicious cake. I started with my favorite dark chocolate cake recipe, added marshmallow creme from the Epicurious Whoopie Pie recipe and then finished it off with some dark chocolate ganache and mini chips. It was every bit as delicious as it looked.

In hindsight, I do wish I chilled the marshmallow creme for a few minutes before adding it to the cake. It was excellent in flavor but fairly soft and runny so when it was added to the cake some of it ran out from between the layers and dripped down the side. I was looking to keep the creme neatly within the two layers but it became a little messier than I had expected. In the future I will chill the creme for about 5-10 minutes in the fridge, just enough to firm it up so it doesn’t run but not cold enough where it becomes solidified. I think doing this will improve the overall presentation. Thankfully, the chocolate ganache helped to hide the marshmallow mess a bit. Regardless, it tasted decadent and delicious and in the end, that’s all the really matters!

Ingredients

For the Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cold brewed coffee
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp white vinegar

For the Marshmallow Creme

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla paste *(I used paste because I like seeing the vanilla flecks in the creme)

For the Ganache

  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan, set aside.

Combine all of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well and add all of the wet ingredients, adding the vinegar last. Mix on low until well combined and smooth. The batter will be very thin.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove from pan, place on a wire rack, and leave until completely cooled.

Once the cake is cooled, make the marshmallow creme. In a bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, marshmallow, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, about 3 minutes. Set aside.

Slice the cooled cake in half horizontally. Drop large dollops of marshmallow creme all over the bottom layer, smooth gently with an offset spatula. Place the other half of the cake on top than chill in the fridge until the ganache is ready.

To make the ganache, combine the butter and heavy cream in a small saucepan. Cook on low until the butter is melted and small bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to sit in the warmed butter and cream for about a minute. Then stir until the ganache is well combined and smooth. Add in the vanilla, stir, and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Remove the cake from the fridge and generously drizzle it with the chocolate ganache, allowing it to drip down the center and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the top with mini chocolate chips. Place the cake back into the fridge so the chocolate can set. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

**Tip** – To slice the cake easily without causing any damage use a long piece of unflavored dental floss. Hold the floss taught and starting from the back of the cake pull the floss through the center of the cake towards you, very gently wiggling it as you bring it forward. Continue to pull the floss until the cake is cut all the way through.