Brown Sugar Coconut Chocolate Cake Bars

Mmmmm chocolate. 

Not just chocolate. But brown sugar and coconut too. 
So many flavors! While they might seem like a random combination, you might be surprised at how well they all tasted together. Trust me, I realize how random it sounds. It all just happened so fast and before I knew it, this is what I came up with. 
I didn’t hate it. Not oneeee bit.

I made these cake bars a few weeks ago to bring to a get-together at a friend’s house. In fact, it was several weeks ago now, because it was before Lent had started. Before my chocolate deprivation had started. I have never craved chocolate more in my life. And looking at these bars again is only making it worse! 
If I can’t make them for myself, you should make them for yourself. At least one of us will get to enjoy the cakey goodness.
Brown Sugar Coconut Chocolate Cake Bars
(Adapted from Funfetti Cake Bars, adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff)
Makes about 16 bars
1 box chocolate cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract 
1/4 cup brown sugar, for topping
1/4 cup chocolate sprinkles, for topping
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 9×9 inch cake pan by coating with nonstick spray.
2. In a medium/large bowl, prepare cake mix by beating together cake mix, oil and egg. Slowly beat in milk until just combined (batter will be thick). Pour batter into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cake begins to pull away from edges of pan.
3. While cake is baking, mix frosting and coconut extract in a small bowl until well combined.
3. Remove cake from oven when finished. Let cool in pan. Frost and top with brown sugar and sprinkles. 

Funfetti Cake Bars

Last night I picked up Moe’s for dinner. Instead of chicken like I always get, I opted for tofu. Why? I don’t know. I think I thought it would save me a few calories after snacking on pralines and birthday cake at the office all day (Mmmm, that was good)! Well, that mistake will not happen again. I learned my lesson. Moe’s tofu=not good. It was unbelievably bland and I had to stop eating my “naked burrito” (no tortilla) half way through because it just wasn’t worth it. Then I discovered if I dipped the tortilla chips in peach salsa (from Trader Joe’s, not Moe’s), then dipped that into my bowl to get some beans, rice and pico, that it actually made for a good meal. Bland/tasteless/boring/unsatisfying dinner disaster averted. 
If only I had a Funfetti Cake Bar leftover from the weekend for dessert. That would make it even better. I mentioned on Sunday that I had made a dessert while my mom and step-dad were here that I would be sharing. Now is the time. Are you excited?
I have unintentionally been stock-piling boxed cake mixes for the past year or so (by stock-piling I mean I have about 6-7 boxes…so not too bad actually. But more than I need or ever use). I came across a recipe using Funfetti mix that I knew would be great. After all, can you really go wrong with Funfetti? I think not.
Rather than following the ingredients listed on the box, modifying them to what is shown in the recipe below results in a dense, chewy cookie texture. 

The thin layer of frosting and sprinkles adds a bit more sweetness and makes them extra cute too (which is just as important). 
These didn’t long at all. 

Seriously though, are you at all surprised? 
Funfetti Cake Bars
(Adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff)
For the bars-
1 box Funfetti cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup frosting 
1/4 cup sprinkles
For the frosting-
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9×9 inch pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and egg. Add milk, a little at a time. 
3. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until edges just become brown and pull away from the pan. Be careful not to over-bake.
4. Let cool completely then frost and top with sprinkles.
To prepare the frosting, combing all ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix with whisk or spoon until well-incorporated. Add more powdered sugar to thicken if needed.

S’more Please.

White Chocolate Gooey S’mores Cake Bars.

The name itself is a mouthful.

More like thirty mouthfuls. I couldn’t stop eating these. Seriously. I could. not. stop.
Somebody take these away before I finish the entire pan myself. Because Greg isn’t helping. At all. He had two bites and put the thing down. C-R-A-Z-Y. Crazy I tell you! You have to be crazy not to like these. 
Thankfully we had some company this weekend to help. My good friend Heather, from high school/swimming/water polo, lives in Charleston with her boyfriend now too. They came to the pool and we had ourselves a little cookout (more on that later!). Heather likes food just as much as I do, and was more than willing to help. Heather and her boyfriend Karl both agreed they were delicious. 
Some of my best memories of summertime are sitting around the fire pit on the back patio with my family and roasting marshmallows…for s’mores of course! 
Since I don’t have a fire pit these days, or don’t get to see my family nearly as much anymore, these cake bars are a little reminder of those summer nights. 
I say they are only a “little reminder”, because although the ingredients are very similar and the name contains the word itself, these really don’t taste much like s’mores. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. When great things like cake and s’mores are combined, you’re bound to have a good outcome. This recipes calls for white chocolate instead of milk chocolate, obviously not your usual s’more. But I love love loooove white chocolate so I was looking forward to this alternative. 
I followed the recommended directions to skip a spoon or spatula and instead prepared the cake mix by hand. It really was much easier this way.
Each ingredient goes into the pan layer by layer. Here is the cake just before the final step of adding condensed milk. For some reason I really like the look of a pile of marshmallows…

I really can’t tell you how good these are. You just need to try them for yourselves. You will not be disappointed. Unless, like I said before, you’re crazy 🙂 
I think I even came up with a great idea stemming from these bars. I’m sure they have been made before, but I’m going to make them without using a specific recipe. Just ideas from my own sugar-obsessed head. How about traditional S’mores Gooey Cake Bars? Not yellow cake mix and white chocolate, but chocolate cake mix and milk chocolate. 
Give me a week or two and I’ll get back to you on that one. I’m going to need some recovery time from eating all of these. 
White Chocolate S’mores Gooey Cake Bars
(Adapted from Picky Palate)
Makes about 12 bars
1 box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 1/2 full graham crackers
10 ounces white chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
1/4 cup condensed milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil (for easier removal from pan, allow foil to fold up and over the edges of the pan). Spray foil with cooking spray.
2. Using you hands (recommended), or a wooden spoon, mix cake mix, butter and egg in a medium bowl.
3. Press half of the dough into the baking pan. Layer graham crackers, white chocolate and marshmallows respectively. Top with remaining half of dough, pressing evenly. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk over the top.
4. Bake for 27-30 minutes, or until golden brown. 
5. Let cool for about five minutes then run a plastic knife along the edges to loosen.
6. Let cool completely and lift foil edges to pull the cake out of the pan. Cut into squares and serve. 
*Tip: Cut 1/4-1/2 inch off of each edge before slicing into squares. This will make bars more even, and give them pretty edges all around 🙂
…Don’t waste the cut-off pieces though. They still taste just as delicious and make a great treat while you cut the rest!