Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Best Chocolate Cake You'll EVER eat!!

Seriously.  This cake is good.  I made this cake in a 9x13 pan for a dinner get together at my Parent's house.  There were four kids and eight adults and there were maybe 6 pieces left.  The kids enjoyed it, the adults enjoyed it, it was even good as leftovers!

As you can see, everyone was eager to get a piece of this deliciousness!

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cake
Recipe from: Hershey's

2 cups sugar
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water


Preheat your oven to 350*.  Prepare two 9-inch cake pans.

Stir together all of your dry ingredients.  Add eggs, milk, oil & vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for about two minutes. Stir in your boiling water.  Mix until the water is combined thoroughly.  The batter will be very thin.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick/knife inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then allow to cool on a cooling rack.

On the website there are directions for making this as cupcakes, bundt cake or 8inch cakes. I've made it as cupcakes before and they've been just as tasty but I still think the cake reigns supreme!

The cake is so moist.  My only complaint is that the cake is so moist that it's sticky which makes it a little tough to handle.  I wonder if reducing the amount of hot water added would help that a little? Maybe I'll try that next time!

Recipe from: The Little Kitchen

1 cup of milk
1 (3.4oz) pkg vanilla instant pudding
8 oz of cream cheese at room temperature
1 (12oz) container of Cool-Whip

Mix the dry instant pudding mix with the cup of milk until incorporated well and the pudding begins to settle.

In a seperate bowl, whip the cream cheese up a little bit and then add the Cool-Whip.  Mix well.  Add the pudding mixture to the cream cheese mixture and whip until everything is incorporated.

Frost the cake when completely cool.  I would suggest make either a double batch or 1.5 batches of frosting if you want to do a layered cake.  Because the cake is so moist, you don't need much frosting in the middle of the layers. However, you might like a little extra to cover the cake.

Tip:  Be sure you let your cream cheese fully come to room temperature. When I made this as the 9x13 cake I allowed it to fully come to room temperature and the frosting was a smooth, velvety texture.  When I made it to frost the 9-inch layered cake, I wasn't patient enough and there were small lumps in the frosting mixture.  Since this 9-inch cake was just for fun, I didn't care enough to try and fix it. That's why you don't see a picture of the cake frosted as a whole.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Red Velvet Cupcakes, again!

I've made Red Velvet Cupcakes before and have posted them here.  I made these for Valentine's Day this year and brought them into work.  I made about five dozen cupcakes, took four dozen to work and shared the other dozen with my Parents, Sister & her Boyfriend as well as a Friend of mine and her Daughter. 

These cupcakes are definitely a crowd pleaser and they're honestly so simple to make! 

Aren't these cupcake boxes cute?  I think I got them awhile back at Target in their Dollar Spot.  The heart decoration on the bottom left, is from a candy melt mold.  I've never used candy molds before but they didn't exactly work out nicely when you tried to pop them out.  The top two cupcakes, I did those decorations freehand on wax paper with melted candy melts.  Once they were dry, I plucked them off the wax paper and adorned my cupcakes with them. 

Once again, my coworkers went gaga for these cupcakes.  I was happy to share them and they really made my day with their sweet compliments about the presentation of the cupcakes.  My local Target gave me some plastic cupcake carriers that made transportation to work so easy! 

Product Review: This review is not compensated or sponsored by Reynold's.  Their new "Baked For You" cupcake liners are amazing.  They are foil lined and they keep their vibrant color and design.  They don't get oily or greasy like other cupcake liners.  I've only ever used the Black Damask design since I found them at a grocery store at a mega discount!  I hope to find them again for a decent price (maybe with a coupon) so I can continue to use them.  They really work well and add a little oomph to your cupcake presentation!  I can't wait to use the Pink Damask, Tiffany Swirl and Dots liners! How cute would those Monkey liners be for a child's Birthday Party?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

At work, I am in charge of ordering the food for our monthly staff meetings.  The hardest part about it is staying within the $7/person budget while maintaining variety.  There are a lot of meetings at work for a lot of different groups so I don't always want to fall back to old favorites.  It's hard enough to order the meal within budget, so it's rare that I can also order dessert and still stay within the budget. 

One day, a coworker asked me if I could order dessert too.  I told her that I had just found a really great  recipe so I would bring some homemade cookies.  It would keep us within budget and I'd get to do some baking! So, the night before the meeting, I went home and baked about six dozen batches of cookies. 

Everyone raved and raved about these cookies.  They were thankful for a dessert option and so many people kept asking and saying "How did you get them so soft?" "What's the secret ingredient?" "Did you really make these?" "Can I have the recipe?" "I can't make a Chocolate Chip Cookie to save my life!" 

Needless to say, they were happy and so was I!  I was able to do something that I love [baking] and I didn't let them go to waste or have six dozen cookies sit around my house. 

Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Recipe from: Annie's Eats

2 cups plus 2 tblsps all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1.2 teaspoon salt
12 tblsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled until warm
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325*

In a medium bowl, whisk your dry ingredients together.  Set them aside.  With an electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly combined.  Beat in the egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined.  Add the dry ingredients and beat at low-speed just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

On Annie's blog, she says to roll a scant half cup of dough in your hands, pull it apart and put the jagged edges up on your baking sheet.  I skipped this and just used a Pampered Chef cookie scoop.  Much, much easier.  They turned out just fine. 

Bake for approximately 11-14 minutes, rotating your cookie sheets halfway through the baking time. 

Be cautious to not overbake the cookies.  They're going to turn out crisp enough to hold their shape and form but yet, ooey, gooey and chewy.  That's just how I like my cookies!  I am happy to say that I've found my go-to recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies! . 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tuna Noodle Casserole

This recipe is pretty self explanatory.  I don't have real measurements for things but I based it off of Carrie's recipe.  It turned out really great.  I know some people might completely turn their nose up at this but it was a delicious, warm, meal and tasted great after long work days and commutes.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
Recipe from: Carrie's Sweet Life

2 cups egg noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can of tuna
1/2 cup shredded cheese, divided into two 1/4 cup servings
Plain potato chips, crushed up
Peas and/or corn (I used canned)

Cook the noodles to your preference. Prepare an 8x8 baking dish. (I always spray my baking dish with a little non-stick cooking spray.)

While the noodles are cooking, mix together the soup, tuna, peas and 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. 

Mix the soup mixture with the noodles.  Put into a baking dish.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and crushed potato chips. 

Bake about 30 min at 350 or until done.
Note: I doubled this recipe and put it in a 9x13 pan so that we'd have plenty for leftovers the following couple of days. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake

There are really no words that can accurately describe the taste and presentation of this cake.  I have never used my Deep Covered Baker from The Pampered Chef.  I've had it for over a year.  It has sat its beautiful, ceramic, cranberry colored self on my counter or pantry shelf for that long without so much as a second glance. I'm DCB.

I was highly skeptical when I saw this recipe on Pinterest.  However, I thought I had nothing to lose to give it a shot! Plus, I thought it looked like a delicious way to break in my DCB.

Molten Lava Cake
Recipe from: The Recipe Roundup

1 box chocolate cake mix
Eggs, oil & water as directed on the cake mix box
1 can prepared chocolate frosting

Prepare the cake as directed on the box.  Pour the cake mix into the Deep Covered Baker.   Open your can of frosting and using a regular spoon, scoop six big scoops of frosting and plop them onto the raw cake batter that's in the Deep Covered Baker.  As you can see, I had a little bit more than six scoops. It was fine.

Here's the crazy part.  You're going to microwave, yes, microwave this cake.  Set your microwave for 10 minutes first, let it cook and take a peek at it. At the ten minute mark, mine was still pretty gooey. I put it in for another five and it was perfect.  When it's done in the microwave, let it rest for a few minutes.  When it looks cake-like and fluffy, it's done. 

As you can see, it will pull away from the pan. You'll see the frosting all melted on the bottom of the pan in ooey, gooey liquidy goodness. When you first take it out of the microwave, it's going to be too liquidy. Letting it set for a bit will help it firm up a bit, but still be thin enough to be the lava to your cake!

 Grab a spoon & enjoy!

Like my sundae dishes?  I got them at Walmart for less than a couple bucks! Super cute and they definitely make eating dessert more fun :)