Cake Batter Cookies

Does Pinterest overwhelm anyone else, or is it just me? Don’t get me wrong, I love browsing, especially the Food boards, looking for new ideas. But then I realize I have hundreds of recipes saved and instead of actually putting them to use, they continue to pile up. Every once in awhile I tell myself I cannot save another recipe until I work my way through the ones I already have saved. 
This past weekend was the perfect opportunity to take advantage of all of my alone time and bake my heart out. 
Cake batter, white chocolate and sprinkles come together to form these soft and chewy cookies that will give actual birthday cakes a run for their money. 

You might be wondering how that is possible without frosting, right? If you’re like me, the main reason you eat cake in the first place is for the frosting. Sure, it tastes great on top of cake, but eating it by the spoonful is just as nice. 

By all means, feel free to slather some frosting right on top of these cookies. The only reason I didn’t was because I was simultaneously surrounded by cookie and cupcake batter coated bowls, whisks and spatulas. There was already so much sugar floating around my kitchen, I didn’t want to put myself in a coma. 
Frosting or not, birthday or not, these cookies give reason to celebrate. It puts meaning to the phrase, “a party in your mouth,” more than ever before. 

Cake Batter Cookies
(Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Makes 16-18 cookies

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons yellow cake mix
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup sprinkles
2-3 tablespoons white chocolate chips

1. In a medium bowl, add cake mix, flour and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugars. Beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla and egg while continuing to beat until well incorporated.
3. While beating on medium speed, gradually add flour mixture until just incorporated. Turn beater off and add sprinkles and chocolate chips. Fold in with a spatula.
4. Chill dough for at least 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Once finished chilling, drop dough by the tablespoon onto cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes or until the tops and edges just become golden brown. Allow to cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack to cool completely.

Wedding Cake Decisions

Hi!!! Oh my goodness, I feel like it has been so long since I’ve posted. I have missed reflecting on all of the delicious food in my life. Trust me, it’s been extra delicious. You can also trust me when I say my long weekend to Columbus involved about three times as much food as I should have been eating. I guess that’s why I keep working out and eating well when I can, because the occasional weekend like that is all too fun.

The theme of the weekend was wedding planning. And the highlight of the planning comes in the form of cake! We met with a total of three different bakers in less than 24 hours. Greg stuck with me for the first two, but left my mom, sister and me to handle the last one on our own. He caked himself out.

Our first stop was with a familiar baker, a family friend whose cakes we have had several times before. We tasted the cookies and cream and also a vanilla filled with strawberries. Both were relatively light and not overly sweet. The portfolio of wedding cake pictures was amazing. Every single one looked absolutely perfect.

The second stop was with a baker whom was recommended to me from a friend. We went to the bakery in downtown Columbus and were given three different cupcakes to try: Chocolate, vanilla and red velvet. These were sweeter than the first, but I was not blown away. I felt like they were something I could make on my own at home from a box. The cakes were beautiful as well, but I still had some underlying reservations. 

The last baker we met gave us samples of vanilla, chocolate and raspberry cakes. The vanilla and raspberry were frosted with an almond buttercream and the chocolate was frosted with regular vanilla buttercream. I like the almond buttercream for the first bite or two, but ultimately decided I’m a regular old vanilla girl. Combined with that chocolate cake…..gahhhhhhhh. I love that one so much.
It was a tough decision, but we think we found our winner 🙂 We still have some thinking to do in terms of finalizing flavors and the design (thankfully we still have several months!). I know time is going to fly, but I just can’t wait to have the final product on display at the reception and cut into it with Greg on our wedding day!
I still have more food from the trip to share with you tomorrow so be sure to come back to see the rest. 
Have a great day!

Banana Bread Snack Cake with a Cinnamon Glaze

Last week I stuck a few brown bananas in the freezer knowing I could keep them there to wait until it was time I make one of the 100 banana recipes I have pinned. Then about two days later, I noticed a whole bunch of bananas in the snack basket (one of the best things about my work) at my office that had turned completely brown as well. I wasn’t about to let those babies get thrown away, so I made the executive decision to adopt them myself. I gave them a home in my freezer with the other browned bananas and suddenly I had just about enough to bake every single banana recipe I could want.

Since I would need to quit my real job to be able to bake as much as I wanted, I knew I needed to play favorites and only pick the recipes that looked exceptionally delicious…for now anyway.

First up: Banana Bread Snack Cake from the one and only Jessica at How Sweet It Is.

I subbed cake flour for whole wheat pastry flour simply because I didn’t have any. Otherwise, I would have loved to use whole wheat for the added health benefits. I am not sure how this switch might have changed the overall outcome of the snack cake in terms of density or any other qualities. For better or for worse, the cake flour version seemed to work quite well.
These turned out just the way I expected. Sweet enough to be a cake, but not so sweet that you feel guilty eating some for breakfast or a snack. It is called snack cake after all. Not that you really need an excuse to eat cake for breakfast or for a snack, but at least you can feel better doing it when it’s something like this. 
Another plus? The clean-up is extra easy because you can make these all in a single bowl. If you’re anything like me, you consider the mess baking is going to make and look for recipes that require less equipment. 
I still have a few banana recipes up my sleeve to put the other frozen fruits to use. The snack cake was a good start, but I’m thinking something with chocolate in the mix will need to happen for the next one. Stay tuned!

Banana Bread Snack Cake
(Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is)

Makes 16 squares

For the cake-
1 egg
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted

For the glaze-
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

To make the cake-
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8×8 baking pan and set aside.
2. In a medium/large bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth. Add vanilla and mashed bananas. Whisk until well combined. Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir until just combined. Add butter and stir until evenly incorporated.
3. Pour batter into pan and bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
4. Remove from oven and cool about 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares. Drizzle glaze overtop and dig in!

To make the glaze-
1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Stir with spoon until smooth.

Individual Biscoff Layer Cake

Good Monday morning! I hope you all had a great weekend and Father’s Day. Although being hundreds of miles away from my dad prevented us from seeing each other on the holiday, I did have a good weekend for a more selfish reason…I found my wedding dress!! I can’t believe it happened so quickly, but it is gorgeous and was on sale just through the weekend so I couldn’t pass it up.

I spent Father’s Day mostly lounging around after church. But with a fresh jar of Biscoff Spread in my pantry, I couldn’t sit still for too long. I was ready to bake something delicious.

I admit this cake isn’t the best looking thing. I almost didn’t bother taking pictures or blogging about it at all because of that. But then I took a bite. And another, and another, and another. 

This cake is rich. This cake is indulgent. 
This cake is not healthy and it is not low in calories. 
But let’s not worry about those pesky details. After all, it’s cake like this that makes you realize that salad for dinner was worth it. And so was that early morning workout. So enjoy it!

The cake was super moist and perfectly sweet with just a hint of saltiness. I am a frosting-loving girl, but a thin layer is all you really need. 
You might also be wondering what the heck is going on with the top of the cake. Well, I originally just spread on the cream cheese frosting, then decided maybe a little more Biscoff wouldn’t hurt. So, I melted some to drizzle over top, but the drizzle looked like a sloppy mess. Thennn I tried to swirl it into the frosting, but that didn’t turn out so great either. Obviously. 

Regardless of its looks, this cake tasted amazing. And that’s all that really matters. 

Individual Biscoff Cake

Makes 1 serving, possibly 2 if you can manage to share 😉

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons margarine
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Biscoff Spread
1/4 cup cream cheese frosting
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat small ramekin with non-stick spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.
3. In a separate medium bowl, add margarine and suger. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well mixed. Add egg and vanilla extract. Continue to beat until well blended. Add Biscoff spread and blend until smooth.
3. Add wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients. Beat with hand mixer until well combined.
4. Pour into ramekin. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool about five minutes. Remove from ramekin and slice cake in half for layering.
5. While the cake is cooling, prepare frosting by softening in microwave (only takes about five seconds). Stir in cinnamon. Spread about one tablespoon across the top of the bottom half of cake. Set the other half of the cake on top and frost completely. If desired, swirl additional Biscoff Spread across the top.

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.

King Cake and a Baby

Have you ever been to New Orleans? No? Neither have I. But I sure have a good taste of what it’s like after eating half of this King Cake yesterday. 
Sam, a good friend of ours from college that moved back to his home in Louisiana after graduating, sent us this cake. It came plain, with a bag of frosting and containers of sprinkles included so we (I) could decorate ourselves (myself). Greg doesn’t decorate cakes. Or maybe I just don’t let him. That’s a woman’s job 😉

I didn’t wait five seconds to tear the box open and get started.

You can never have enough frosting. 

King Cakes are traditionally decorated with Mardis Gras colors: green, purple and yellow. I used some of each before squeezing out the last of the frosting to finish it off.
How dang pretty is that? The box of cake even came with Mardis Gras beads! So fun 🙂
Another tradition with King Cakes is that there is always a small plastic baby hidden inside. Guess who found it in the very first slice?!
To celebrate my victory, I had another slice. And then just another sliver. Ok, maybe two slivers. And licked some frosting left behind on the bottom of the tray. Soooo delicious.
A King Cake is like one giant cinnamon roll. The parts towards the center were definitely best, but it was all good all around. 
I told Sam that I would bake him some cookies in exchange for the cake. Now that I have enjoyed this so much, I need to step up my game for the cookies. They are going to have to be my best. 
So what will it be? Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, Frosted Sugar Cookies, or something new??

Coconut Cake: Take 2

Once upon a time I made a coconut cake. Once upon a time, it didn’t live up to my hopes or Greg’s dreams.
This weekend, I finally turned things around and learned how to make the most delicious coconut cake in the world. Hands down. 
I mentioned yesterday that Greg’s mom and I spent Saturday doing what girls do best: shopping, drinking chai tea lattes and baking. Part of the plan when she initially told me they were coming in town was to bake a coconut cake for a belated birthday cake for Greg. 
The coconut cake recipe that Greg’s mom uses was passed down to her from her grandmother and I am so excited I now know the secrets to making Greg’s all-time favorite dessert. Win for Greg, therefore win for me!
Here we are hard at work in the kitchen, putting to good use my Kitchen Aid hand mixer AND stand mixer. 

This triple layer cake is no joke. One of my favorite parts is that instead of spreading icing between each layer, a special mixture of fruit and nuts forms a delicious filling. 

It was getting late by the time we finished baking and layering the cake so we decided to wait to ice until after dinner. It ended up working out perfectly, because we were so full from the mac and cheese that I needed that extra time spent icing the cake to digest a little! 

I tried to get creative and decorate with the pecans, but wanted to keep it simple too. 

As you can tell, I was very excited about this one. I already knew it was going to be 100 times better than my first coconut cake attempt.
Boy, were my instincts right. I have had the famous coconut cake a few times before and love that I can now make it for myself…although it may take me a few more times on my own to perfect it. I couldn’t have done it without Greg’s mom who coached me through the whole thing. 
This is one dangerously good dessert. I could go on and on eating it all day and night. 
Triple Layer Coconut Cake
Serves 16-18
For the cake-
2 boxes white cake mix
8 egg whites (depending on the box recipe)
1 1/4 cup water (depending on box recipe)
1 1/4 cup coconut milk
2/3 cup vegetable oil (depending on box recipe)
For the frosting-
2-16 ounce containers whipped vanilla frosting
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 teaspoons imitation coconut extract
1/3-1/2 cup powdered sugar
For the filling-
Juice of 2 medium oranges
Juice from 1 small can crushed pineapple
2 tablespoons crushed pineapple
2-3 tablespoons coconut milk
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
For the topping-
1 1/2-2 cups shredded coconut
1/3 cup pecan halves
1. Prepare cake according to package directions, except replacing half of the water with coconut milk (as reflected in ingredients above). Coat three 8-9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray and divide batter evenly into the pans. Bake as directed on box.
2. While cakes are baking, prepare frosting in a stand mixer. Blend first three ingredients, then add powdered sugar to thicken as needed. Frosting should slowly drip off spatula when lifted. Set frosting aside.
3. Prepare the filling by adding all ingredients to a small saucepan. Turn to medium heat and bring mixture to a light simmer, stirring constantly. Add more fruit juice or shredded coconut to taste. Once thickened (about 8 minutes) remove from heat. 
4. To layer cakes, lay a knife horizontally across the rim of one cake layer. Slowly cut across the top to make a flat surface. Do the same for the remaining two cakes.
5. Poke holes in the surface of the bottom layer with a toothpick (this allows the juicy filling to soak in!). First, spoon the juice from the filling mixture across the layer, then add the “thicker” part of the filling consisting of the pineapple, shredded coconut and pecans. Lay another cake layer on top and repeat this step. Lay final layer on top and ice the cake.
6. Sprinkle shredded coconut all over the cake and garnish with more pecans as desired. 

Surviving the Week with Chocolate Doughnuts

We made it to the middle of the week.

Do you need a doughnut? ‘Cause I need a doughnut. Or maybe you need some cake? Well I have good news for you! Because these doughnuts are really more like cake in the form of a doughnut. 
Extra moist and extra chocolatey, you will love these doughnuts…for breakfast or dessert! Or, a mid-day snack of course.
Now there is only one question: Sprinkles or no sprinkles?
Double (or triple or quadruple) Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

Makes about 20 doughnuts
1 box chocolate cake mix
1.5 cans pumpkin
2 eggs
1 cup chocolate chips
Chocolate frosting (optional)
Chocolate sprinkles (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray doughnut pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of a stand-alone mixer or another large bowl, combine first three ingredients. Beat on medium speed until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Carefully pour batter evenly in doughnut pan.
4. Bake 10-12 minutes or until doughnuts have puffed up and toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
5. If desired, frost and top with sprinkles. Or for another serving suggestion, place warm doughnuts in bag with cinnamon and gently shake to evenly coat.

Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

What kind of desserts did you have for Thanksgiving? I bet they weren’t as good as this!
Chocolate cake is not normally one of my faves, but this isn’t just a chocolate cake. It’s a Double Chocolate Pumpkin Cake.
I gave you a preview after Thanksgiving last week. And I wasn’t lying when I said this cake was the star of the day. My family was raving about it the entire weekend like I have never heard before. I have already been told I must make it again when I get home for Christmas. 
The “double chocolate”-ness comes about because it is obviously a chocolate cake, but what you can’t see are the mini chocolate chips mixed in. The chocolate chips took the cake to the next level…at least that’s what I’m contributing part of the deliciousness to. 
The pumpkin flavor on the other hand was a bit lost in the chocolate. I think the pumpkin helped with the overall texture and moisture of the cake, but did not play a large role in the flavor. 
I actually found that I liked this best by pairing it with a slice of pumpkin pie. Sometimes I would alternate bites and other times I just ate the two at once. Mmm, mmm, mmmmmmm!
I followed the recipe for the cake exactly as shown by Jenny from the Picky Palate. Instead of using her recipe for the Pumpkin Spice Buttercream, I used store-bought cream cheese frosting and stirred in about a teaspoon or two of cinnamon (per Jenny’s recommendation…thanks Jenny!) Check out her blog for this and a million other amazingly creative and delicious recipes!