Tag Archives: baking

Peanut Butter Cup Earthquake Cake (Happy Birthday to ME!)

17 Aug

I just celebrated my 33rd birthday – and as I am sure most of you adults (and moms!) out there can attest to – birthdays aren’t exactly a big deal anymore, but one thing that I do especially enjoy about birthdays is the FOOD! When you’re a kid, it’s all about sheet cake full of sugar and pizza and candy – and I would like to say that as an adult my tastes have evolved and I enjoy a fancy meal in an upscale restaurant for my birthday – but that’s just not me ha. I still love pizza and frosting and candy – but I have evolved a bit past the sheet cake, to this magical creation called the “Earthquake Cake”. It’s full of peanut butter and chocolate-y goodness, and it is a MUST try for those of you who love the PB/chocolate combo as much as I do!

PEANUT BUTTER CUP EARTHQUAKE CAKE
(Recipe Courtesy of Lamberts Lately)

INGREDIENTS
1 Box of yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2 cups peanut butter
2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
chocolate syrup
¼ cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar
30 chopped peanut butter cups

INSTRUCTIONS
-In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 cup of peanut butter, and 1 stick of butter. Spread mixture in a greased 9×13″ baking dish.
-In a mixer, mix together 1 stick butter, 1 cup peanut butter, and ¼ cup milk. Slowly add in powdered sugar until frosting is mixed well.
-Spoon half of the frosting mixture on top of the cake mix. Add 6-8 large squirts of chocolate syrup.Very gently swirl frosting and syrup into the cake mix. Don’t completely mix. Make sure you get swirls into the edge of the cake pan.
-Gently press in half of the chopped peanut butter cups.
-Bake cake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees
-Once cooled, Top cake with remaining frosting, more chocolate syrup, and remaining chopped peanut butter cups.

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A boxed yellow cake mix gets a healthy dose of peanut butter

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Half the frosting is actually used INSIDE the cake – keeps it moist and EXTRA peanut butter-y

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A Swirl and some PB cups and this guy is ready for the oven

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The name “Earthquake” is no joke – it got so big while baking it erupted over the side of the pan!

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The finished product is so rich and dense – and FULL of peanut butter – SO GOOD!

The only thing I really changed about the recipe is that I bought a big bag of the mini “unwrapped” reeses’s cups instead of using chopped ones. Truth be told I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to bother unwrapping a ton of candies and then chopping them – the unwrapped ones worked really well! Half went in the cake, half went on top. Easy.

Ok now, I know what you might be wondering – Did she make her OWN birthday cake??? And the answer is technically no – as my husband purchased my cake of choice – cookie cake with extra frosting (you can pay like $2 extra and they will cover the whole thing in frosting – best add on EVER!), but I knew we were having some people over last weekend and while cookie cake is great – it’s not everyone’s favorite – so I decided to make the Earthquake cake in addition to the cookie cake – because who doesn’t love multiple dessert choices, right?

My husband says I only made the Earthquake cake so that people wouldn’t eat as much cookie cake and I could have more of it to myself – which is actually NOT true – I hadn’t thought of that ahead of time – but he might be onto something there…hmm. Either way – the earthquake cake is the ultimate indulgence for the peanut butter/chocolate lovers in your life – it’s easy to make and delicious to eat!

Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Amazing Cupcakes

19 Jul

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When your BFF (Best Friend Forever – or at least for the past 15+years anyway) has a birthday, you go all out – especially when it comes to the dessert. Previous years have seen me making Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes and Rainbow Cake, but this year I had to go for her main love – PEANUT BUTTER. And what pairs better with it than CHOCOLATE? Nothing – the answer is nothing. It’s a match made in baking heaven

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I decided on Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes because we were going to one of those painting places (where you can bring wine, too!) and I knew I would want something easy to serve and that didn’t require cutting, or plates and forks. Oh – and I picked this recipe specifically because it featured Peanut Butter Cups INSIDE the cake – what a perfectly delicious surprise, right?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes
(Recipe Courtesy Of Tastes Better From Scratch)

Ingredients
For the Chocolate Cupcakes
• 1 box chocolate cake mix
• 4 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1/4 cup vegetable oil
• 2 heaping Tbsp Greek yogurt
• 30 mini Reese’s cups , divided

Instructions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
-Line 2 regular muffin tins with cupcake liners
-Mix together the cake mix, milk, eggs, oil and Greek yogurt until smooth
-Spoon batter into cupcake pans, filling the liners 1/2 full
-Place a Reese’s PB cup into the center of the batter in each cup and gently press it down a little
-Bake cupcakes for 16-20 minutes or until done. Allow to cool completely before frosting

Some action shots of the baking process:

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The peanut butter cups completely disappeared once baked – making them truly a surprise!

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So this came with an accompanying frosting recipe – but – I admit, I was completely UNsuccessful in getting it to work – which is why I didn’t include it here with my post. Seemed simple enough – peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, milk – so, I made it, and was wondering why it was so soupy/oily…then I tried to put it on the cupcakes and it just basically melted off – so I knew something had to be wrong. I followed the given amounts, but maybe I screwed something up along the way?? I was pretty confused – but luckily my husband was kind enough to give it a second go for me, and unfortunately, his results were even worse than mine!

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The super oily (and unusable) result of the frosting recipe provided with the cupcake recipe in the original link

Followed exactly, the frosting recipe provided in the above link just DOES NOT work – AT ALL. If you can get it to somehow come together and stay on the cake and not be gross – then kudos to you! But – since I was unable to get it together – literally – so I ended up googling peanut butter frosting recipes – and using the very first hit:

Fluffy Peanut Butter Frosting
(Recipe Courtesy of All Recipes)
Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons milk, or as needed
2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions
Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy

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Luckily – this one worked great on the first try (thank goodness – as I was running low on peanut butter at this point!) – and turned out exactly as promised – fluffy and smooth, sweet and amazing! I didn’t have time to pipe it on (since the extra batches put me just a bit behind schedule – oops!), so I slapped it on with my trusty offset spatula, and decided each one could do with another peanut butter cup – because – why not?

The overall taste was great – cake was moist and combined with the frosting was just perfect. Then the surprise of the peanut butter cup inside was great, too. A winner all around (once I found a better frosting recipe!), and my BFF loved it, too!

These S’more Cookie Bars Have Me Saying “Gimme S’more!”

14 Jun

Ok, I know – the title is a ridiculously bad pun – but I just couldn’t help myself – it was so punny!!!! Ok. Done now – for real. But what’s no joke is how deliciously easy these bars are – I mean, basically you take a chocolate chip cookie, and add marshmallow creme and graham cracker – what’s not to love about that?

Truth be told – I already have a S’more’s Bar Recipe that I love – but I am all about trying new things, and these looked easy (translation – I already had most of the items on hand – which is really the big seller for any recipe in my book, cuz, well… #lazy)

Ok – time to get down to it:

S’more Cookie Bars
(Recipe courtesy of Something Swanky)

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup marshmallow cream
1/2 cup chocolate semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

-Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper or foil.
-Beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
-Mix in the baking soda, salt, flour, and graham cracker crumbs until dough forms.
-Press 3/4 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Spread the marshmallow cream over top. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cream.
-Press the remaining cookie dough over top of the chocolate chips. Bake for 20 minutes.
Let cool before cutting and serving.

Some “Work In Progress” Photos:

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Basically cookie dough with graham cracker crumbs in it (YUM).

Oh and I doubled the recipe because – well – why not?

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My thought process was “oh maybe the marshmallow cream will be easier to spread with my hands than the spatula!” It wasn’t. At all. Take my word for it – use the spatula – and you can even coat it in non-stick spray before attempting to spread the creme around. This is the hardest part of the whole recipe – stickiest stuff ever!

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I am not sure why – but that dough just looks so goodddddd – and I love that you can see each “s’more” component in the pan

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Oh – hello lovelies. Boy am I glad I made two pans of you!

So – the original recipe says to cut the pan into 9 squares – but – I cut mine into WAY more than that (mostly so I can eat a bunch of them but not feel guilty because “they were tiny!” HA)

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They were an instant hit with the husband – kid took a minute but also declared his love for these cookie bars soon after his initial taste test!

These are perfect for those moments when you’re craving a s’more but the weather isn’t cooperating so you can’t have a bonfire (which – here in Upstate NY is like most of the time, since we spend over half the year with snow on the ground!)

As for their comparison to my original beloved S’mores Bars – overall – they are pretty similar in taste, with the main difference being ease of eating – in that these cookie bars are much easier to pick up and eat without making a mess (the original ones have a thicker chocolate layer which makes them a bit trickier to eat). These would be really great to make for a picnic or BBQ – especially if you do like me and cut them up small (and make a double batch – because – who doesn’t need S’more of these?!)

Celebrate Your Next Birthday (Or ANY Day Really) With These Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies

16 May

I have been making funfetti cookies for years – they are cheap, easy to make, and they taste delicious – so what’s not to love about that, right? I was actually about to make another batch of those to gift to someone for their birthday when I came across these online – Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies – basically a hybrid funfetti and chocolate chip cookie – all in one pretty, colorful treat!

Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies  (Recipe Courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup yellow or vanilla boxed cake mix (I typically use vanilla cake mix – you just need the DRY mix)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup  chocolate chips (I used 1/2 cup of white and 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles
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Assembled ingredients ready for action! Side note – this is a perfect time to use up all those half empty containers of sprinkles you have sitting around!

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cake mix, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the softened butter and both sugars together on medium speed until smooth. Add the egg and mix on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and beat on high until combined. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix on low-medium speed until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. Mix on low until the add-ins are evenly disbursed.

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    Various stages of dough-inc the hodge podge of sprinkles (Easter, Valentine’s, Christmas – all present and accounted for!)

  3. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 2 hours, or up to 3-4 days. This step is mandatory. The dough is fairly sticky, so chilling the dough is required in order to avoid the cookies from spreading too much
  4. Once dough has been chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats
  5. Scoop rounded balls of the cold dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, use about 1.5 Tablespoons of cookie dough per cookie. Make sure to keep dough chilled when working in batches.
  6. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Mine take 10 minutes exactly. The centers will still appear very soft, but the cookies will set as they cool. You can also press a few more chips into the tops of the cookies at this point (the chips will melt down and stick from the warm cookies).

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    Obviously you can’t smell through the screen – but trust me – the smell that fills the kitchen as these bake is divineeee

  7. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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I love the look of these – all the colors of the sprinkles, and the dots of the white and semi sweet chips – so pretty and unique!

Make ahead tip: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Allow to come to room temperature and continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well – up to three months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well – up to three months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw.

….Of course, freezing the baked cookies or the dough itself would mean that you would have to have some left after making a double batch…oops….

 

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My littlest critic approved of them (after intense pre-inspection!)

Needless to say – these were a hit – as a gift, and in my own house, too! One to make again, for sure!

Santa Brought Me Silicone Baking Mats (I Must Have Been On The “Nice” List!)

6 Jan

I have to say – I was pretty pumped when I opened up these bad boys on Christmas morning – so much so that I got right down to the business of testing them out!

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For those of you NOT familiar with what these are – they are silicone baking mats, which act as a non-stick tray liner for all your baking needs! They fit standard half sheet pan size trays (these are the ones I have – the mats fit perfectly on them), and are of course oven safe, and washable

There are a lot of different brands of silicone baking mats – and Silpat is probably the most widely known – but I had asked for (and was lucky enough to receive) the amazon basics version – which are basically the same thing

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I whipped up some classic Chocolate Chip Cookies to test out the mats – and they were perfect – just what I needed, and I can’t wait to use them again!

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*Note – this post was not AT ALL sponsored by amazon, silpat, or anyone else for that matter – I just really was excited to get these and share how well they worked with the world!

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars = Cookie Heaven

26 Jul

What is better than cookies? Well, not much if you ask me – but I would say one thing that’s better than cookies is MORE COOKIES. I’m thinking like a cookie bar with cookies baked inside – now that’s basically perfection for a cookie lover like myself. I had saved the recipe for these loaded Oreo M&M cookie bars a while ago – and now that I have made them, I have no idea why I waited so long – as they were easy, tasty – and did I mention – cookie in cookie?

Loaded M&M Oreo Cookie Bars
(Recipe Courtesy Of Averie Cooks)
Yield: 8×8 pan (9-12 generous squares)
Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 20-25 min
Total Time: 30 min

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
1 large egg
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
18 Oreo Cookies, coarsely chopped (I used Oreo Chocolate Birthday Cake Sandwich Cookies
about 1/2 cup M&M’s (I used plain, use your favorite flavor or other chopped candy)

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Ingredients = assembled. Let’s bake.
Oh – and – I’m making a double batch. Because, well – why NOT?

Directions
-Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
-In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
-Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.

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-Add the flour and stir until just combined, don’t overmix.

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-Stir in the Oreos.

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-Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula.
-Evenly sprinkle the M&Ms over the top, lightly pressing them down with your finger or a spatula.
-Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes, or until done based on add-ins used. Top should be set and edges slightly firm. A toothpick inserted in the center (if you can find a bare patch to test) should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.

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-Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

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NOTES: I decided to add some M&M’s into the batter too (in addition to putting them on top). I used peanut M &M’s – which tasted great but was kind of messy when it came to cutting them – the candy kinda fell apart – so I would recommend plain using plain or even mini M&M’s instead

In the original recipe, she states that you can really use anything – any cookies or mix in’s – so it might be fun to experiment with these – mini peanut butter cups and peanut butter oreos, chips ahoy cookies and cut up snickers…I could go on and on – but you get the idea. No matter what you use they will turn out delicious!

 

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes = The Perfect Summer Birthday Treat!

15 Jul

When my BFF told me she wanted strawberry lemonade cupcakes for her 30th birthday cake – I was kind of surprised. I mean, I knew they existed, but it’s certainly not a “typical” birthday cake flavor – chocolate, vanilla, even red velvet – those tend to be the norm. But hey, it’s her birthday, and if she wants to try something new, I’m game!

So, I browsed the internet for a recipe (what did we do before Pinterest and Google? Seriously!), and got down to business!

Strawberry Lemonade Cupcakes (Recipe Courtesy of Eating On A Dime)

Ingredients
1 box White Cake Mix
1 box Strawberry Jell-O
2 tbsp Sweetened Lemonade mix
16 oz thawed package Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (or your could use FRESH strawberries when they are in season)
3 Eggs
⅓ cup Vegetable Oil
½ cup Butter
3 cup Powdered Sugar
⅓ cup Sweetened Lemonade mix
2 tbsp Water
Chewy Lemonheads candy (optional)

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Got all my ingredients – and I’m ready to bake!

 

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Stir together Cake mix, dry Jello and 2 tbsp lemonade mix
3. Puree strawberries
4. Add strawberries, eggs and vegetable oil to dry ingredients
5. Mix until smooth and blended
6. Place liners in cupcake pan and fill ⅔ full
7. Bake about 20 minutes
8. Allow to cool completely

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I don’t know about you – but I LOVE strawberries – and am stoked there are REAL strawberries in this cake recipe (instead of just like boxed strawberry cake mix or something)

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So pretty and pink!

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I can’t even describe to you how amazing this smelled while baking – the cake-y strawberry-y scent was great – and tempting – made me want to shove like 4 in my mouth immediately after they were done – but restraint was practiced – thankfully – since they would have burned my mouth anyway ha!

For Icing
1. Cream butter in a medium bowl
2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar and ⅓ cup lemonade mix. Add water as needed, until everything is incorporated and frosting is right consistency
3. Transfer icing to piping bag or zippered bag and clip corner to pipe
4. Ice tops of each cupcake
5. Optional: dust with sparkling sugar and lemonhead (or a fresh lemon or candy lemon).

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Just a few notes:
I doubled the frosting recipe as I was running out after I had frosted only half of them – and maybe I was a little extra generous with the frosting – but I am a HUGE frosting fan, and let’s be real – they are just prettier with more frosting! I also skipped the crushed candies and lemon garnish – they were way cute with just the straw!

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The Birthday girl really liked them – and I have to say, I really did too! The cake itself was moist, and had a great strawberry flavor, and the frosting – while a bit gritty from the lemonade mix, was still really good, was sweet but a bit sour too from the lemonade

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Everyone really liked them – including my men

(…of course, they like most baked goods, but still – I am glad they were well received!)

These would be perfect to bring along to a summer picnic – wouldn’t they look cute on the buffet line? I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them – so much so that I might just make them again for fun!