Storm the Cassoulet

Mexican Chocolate Cake




1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or ground Mexican chili powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup cold water

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

6 tablespoons water

10 small fresh strawberries


Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly coat an 8-inch round cake pan with vegetable cooking spray.

Combine all the cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Pour into the pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. When the cake has cooled, whisk together the first three glaze ingredients. Dip each strawberry into the glaze and set aside. Pour the remaining glaze over the cake and arrange the strawberries on top. Set aside to dry, about 30 minutes.


Leave a comment »

White Cake with Cranberry Filling and Orange Buttercream


Recipe from Southern Living



1 (12-oz.) jar cherry preserves

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 1/2 cups fresh cranberries*


1 cup butter, softened

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 (32-oz.) package powdered sugar

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 to 2 Tbsp. milk (optional)


Basic White Cake Layers


Prepare Filling: Bring first 3 ingredients and 3 cups cranberries to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring often, 5 to 6 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop. Transfer 1 cup cranberry mixture to a small bowl, and stir in remaining 1/2 cup whole cranberries. (This will be the Cranberry Topping.) Transfer remaining hot Cranberry Filling mixture to another small bowl. Cool both mixtures completely (1 hour). Cover; chill 8 hours.

Prepare Buttercream: Beat butter and next 2 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with orange juice. Beat at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Stir in vanilla. If desired, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. at a time, beating until frosting reaches desired consistency.

Place 1 Basic White Cake layer on a serving platter. Spoon 1 1/2 cups buttercream into a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Snip 1 corner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a ring of frosting around cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread cake layer with half of chilled Cranberry Filling (without whole berries), spreading to edge of piped frosting. Top with second cake layer. Repeat procedure with frosting and remaining Cranberry Filling (without whole berries). Top with third layer. Spread remaining buttercream over top and sides of cake. Pipe a ring of frosting around top cake layer just inside the top edge. Spread Cranberry Topping (with whole berries) over top cake layer, spreading to edge of piped frosting.

*Frozen cranberries, thawed, may be substituted.


Leave a comment »

Pineapple Upside Down Cake


 From Leda


3 cups cake flour, plus more for pan
1 cup butter, softened, plus 1/2 cup, melted
2 1/4 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups whole buttermilk
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple slices in juice, drained well (reserve 2 tablespoons juice for frosting)
1 (10-ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained well

Pineapple Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 pound butter, softened
2 tablespoons reserved pineapple juice
3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Makes about 2 cups.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and coat with flour.

In a large bowl, beat 1 cup butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and set aside.

In a small bowl, add the 3 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour mixture into the egg mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Divide the brown sugar evenly into the bottom of each pan. Pour the melted butter equally over the brown sugar. Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries over the brown sugar. Reserve remaining pineapple slices and cherries for another use.

Pour equal amounts of batter over the fruit and bake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely. (Otherwise Frosting will slide right off)

To assemble the cake, carefully arrange 1 cake layer, pineapple side up, on a cake plate. Carefully stack the remaining cake layer, pineapple side up, over the first layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with Pineapple Buttercream Frosting. (Do not put frosting between layers – makes a mess). Press chopped pecans into sides of cake, if desired.

Please note: I think it’s best to keep it in a cool room versus the refrigerator. The fridge seems to make everything very heavy and dense.

Leave a comment »

Melted Snowman Cookies



Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix

10 large marshmallows

Betty Crocker Cookie Icing (white and orange)

Wilton Decorating Icing Tubes in Black, Red, Green, Blue and Pink


Mix cookie mix according to directions, or prepare your favorite cut out sugar cookie recipe, then just grab a golf ball sized chunk and squish it down until it’s about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Do not worry about the shape or how lumpy it is, the more misshapen the better! Bake according to recipe directions.

Once the cookies are cool, load them up with the cookie icing and spread it around with the back of a spoon, let some dribble over the edge for a “puddle” look.

Spray a microwave safe plate with cooking spray, and place marshmallows on the plate. Set the microwave for 30 seconds, but watch the marshmallows as they cook. Stop the microwave as soon as the marshmallows start to get puffy, do not let them double in size.

Spray your fingers with cooking spray or grease them up with shortening, and carefully pull the marshmallows off, by the base, and set them on top of the frosted cookies.

Then just decorate as you’d like with the Wilton frosting, or your own homemade frosting!e, Wilton Royal Icing Mix to ice the cookies

Wilton Royal Icing Recipe


3 tb Wilton meringue powder

1 lb Sifted powdered sugar

6 tb Water


IF using a counter top mixer, beat all ingredients at low speed for 7 to 10 minutes until icing forms peaks. If you are using a hand held mixer, it will take more like 10-12 minutes. AFTER you get stiff peaks, you’ll want to transfer about 1/2 into a bowl and add a 1/2 a teaspoon of water at a time while stirring until the consistency is slightly runny. To test for the right consistency: Using a knife, scoop a little of your runny icing and hold above the bowl. As it drips, count to 10. By the count of 10, the icing that dripped down should meld into the icing in the bowl so there is no indication of where your drips landed. Put your icing in a container covered with a wet paper towel and a lid.


Leave a comment »

Peekaboo Pumpkin Pound Cake with Brown Butter Pecan Icing



For the pound cake

1 (14-ounce) box pumpkin bread mix

1 (16-ounce) box pound cake mix

Orange food coloring

For the icing

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter

3-1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons evaporated milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)


Prepare pumpkin bread

Mix up pumpkin bread ingredients according to the directions on the box. Add orange food coloring to make it more “pumpkin-y” looking (less brown).

Bake and cut

Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan according to directions. Remove from oven before completely done, about 8-10 minutes less than instructed. Let cool, remove from pan and refrigerate for up to four hours. Cut cold pumpkin bread into large slices. Cut pumpkin shapes from slices.

Align them down the center of a lightly greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

Make pound cake

Mix up your pound cake batter according to the directions on the box. Pour over your pumpkin bread cutouts in the pan, making sure to cover the tops of the pumpkins. You may have more pound cake batter than you need. Try not to overfill the pan. Bake according to the directions on the box. Let cool when done.

Prepare icing

Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter pecan icing.

Put powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, melt butter and boil, stirring until it starts to brown and form dark flecks on the sides and bottom.

Remove from heat. Pour the melted brown butter and flecks over the powdered sugar. Add the evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until combined and creamy. Add more powdered sugar if it appears too runny or more evaporated milk if it seems too stiff.

Ice cake

Remove baked and cooled pound cake from pan and top with brown butter icing. Add chopped pecans, if desired.

Cut into slices and delight your guests with the pumpkin-shaped surprise that peeks out from inside!

Leave a comment »

Cinnabon Shortcut No-Rise Cinnamon Rolls

cinnabon hack


1 tube Pillsbury Simply french bread

1 1/2 stick butter, softened

1 tablespoon cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar

4 ounces cream cheese

3 cups powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Open Pillsbury bread and unroll it gently until it’s flat. In a small bowl, mix together 1 stick of butter, cinnamon, and sugar until a thick paste forms. Spread this cinnamon paste across the bread dough, leaving 1/2″ at the top without the cinnamon-butter mixture. Starting from the cinnamon-slathered bottom end of your bread, roll firmly and pinch the top dough tightly to keep it from opening. Slice into 1 1/2″ pieces. Place in a 9″ round cake pan. Bake for 13-18 minutes, or just until the exterior of the bread dough turns light golden brown. Remove and frost immediately.

To prepare frosting, while the cinnamon rolls are baking, place 3/4 stick butter, 5 ounces of cream cheese, and powdered sugar into a stand mixer. Beat until smooth. Slather over hot cinnamon rolls the moment they emerge from the oven. Serve with giant forks, glasses of cold milk, and enjoy!


Purple Ombre Layer Cake


2 boxes white cake mix
water, vegetable oil and egg whites called for on cake mix boxes
purple neon gel food color


1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup water
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla


Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray four 8- or 9-inch round cake pans with baking spray with flour.
Make cake batter as directed on boxes. Divide batter equally among 4 bowls. Add food color to make 4 different shades of the same color. Pour batter into pans.

Bake and cool as directed on box for 8- or 9-inch rounds.

In 2-quart saucepan, heat sugar and water to boiling. Cook to 245°F on candy thermometer.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat eggs whites, cream of tartar and salt with electric mixer on high speed until peaks form.

Reduce speed to low; slowly pour sugar syrup into egg whites. Increase speed to high; beat about 7 minutes or until sides of bowl are cool to the touch. Beat in vanilla.

Spread 1 tablespoon frosting on cake plate to act as glue. Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread with thin layer of frosting. Repeat to use all layers. Frost cake completely with remaining frosting.

Leave a comment »

Carrot Cake



1 pound carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 medium carrots), for the cake

3 large eggs, for the cake

3 cups walnuts (divided), for the cake

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, for the cake

2 cups all-purpose flour, for the cake, plus more for flouring the pans

1 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut, for the cake

2 teaspoons baking soda, for the cake

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained (about 1 cup pineapple), for the cake

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, for the cake

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature, for the cream cheese frosting

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, for the cake

1 pound (two 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature, for the frosting

1 teaspoon kosher salt, for the cake

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, for the cream cheese frosting

1 cup vegetable oil, for the cake

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, for the cream cheese frosting

2 cups granulated sugar, for the cake

Optional:   use 2 cups grated carrots instead


To make the cake: Fill a saucepan with a couple inches of water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Place the sliced carrots in a steamer basket and set over the saucepan. Cover and steam the carrots until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. (You can also bring a pot of water to a boil, add the carrots, cover, and cook until tender.) Place the carrots in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée until smooth. You should have 11⁄3 cups puréed carrots. Alternatively, you can purée with an immersion blender or with a food mill. (Don’t use a blender or you’ll need to add liquid.)

Heat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Chop the walnuts and set aside.

Meanwhile, grease the bottom and sides of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or two 9-inch cake pans with butter, oil, or nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom(s) with parchment paper and grease the paper (Love Note 2, page 351, Devil’s Food Cake). Sprinkle in a little flour and turn the pans to evenly coat the greased areas. Turn the pans over and tap them against the bottom of the sink to remove the excess (Love Note 1).

Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a medium bowl.

Place the oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat at medium speed until combined. Add the eggs one at a time and beat at medium speed until well incorporated before adding the next. Add the vanilla and carrots and beat for 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and add the sifted dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Stir in the coconut, 1 cup of the walnuts, and the drained pineapple.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (crumbs can cling to it, but no streaks of batter) and the cake is pulling away from the sides of the pan(s). Remove the pan(s) from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After 15 minutes, place a cooling rack(s) over the pan(s) and invert (so the cake falls out of the pan and onto the rack). Peel off the parchment and continue to cool the cake for at least 1 hour before frosting.

To make the frosting: In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the sugar, 1 cup at a time. Stop the machine and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and whisk at medium-high speed until very smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Stop the machine and scrape down the bowl again, and then mix for 1 minute more. Set aside.

To frost a 13x9x2-inch cake: Place a serving platter on top of the cake and invert it again so the cake is sitting on it (Love Note 2). Tuck a few strips of parchment paper under the bottom edges of the cake (this keeps the serving plate clean as you frost). Use an offset spatula to scrape one-third of the frosting onto the top of the cooled cake. Spread the frosting over the top and sides (this is a thin coating called a “crumb coat,” which fixes all the loose crumbs in place). Wipe your spatula clean and scrape the remaining frosting onto the top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides.

Press the remaining chopped toasted walnuts around the sides and over the top of the cake. Refrigerate if not serving immediately.

To frost a two-layer cake: Place a serving plate on top of one cake and invert it again so the cake is sitting on it (Love Note 2). Tuck a few strips of parchment paper under the bottom edges of the cake (this keeps the serving plate clean as you frost). Use an offset spatula to scrape one-third of the frosting onto the top of the cake; spread it evenly over the top. Carefully set the other cake on top, with the flat side facing up, and scrape one-third of the frosting onto the top of it. Spread this frosting over the top and sides of the cake (this thin layer of frosting is a crumb coat, which will adhere the crumbs to the cake so they don’t end up on the surface of the final layer of frosting). Clean off your spatula and scrape the remaining frosting onto the top of the cake. Spread evenly over the top and sides.

Press the remaining chopped toasted walnuts around the sides and over the top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Leave a comment »

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake



2 cups sugar

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

Choppend nuts for garnish, optional



Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with “PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE” CHOCOLATE FROSTING. 10 to 12 servings.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.



1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

Leave a comment »

Fresh Orange Italian Cream Cake




½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened

½ c. Shortening

2 c. Sugar

5 Large Eggs, separated

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 c. All-Purpose Flour

1 t. Baking Soda

½ t. Salt

1 c. Whole Milk (or buttermilk)

1 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut

2 T. Grated Orange Rind

Orange Marmalade

1 c. Sugar

¼ c. Cornstarch

2 c. Fresh Orange Juice

3 Large Eggs, lightly beaten

¼ c. Unsalted Butter

2 T. Grated Orange Rind

Glazed Pecans

1½ c. Pecan Halves

⅓ c. Light Corn Syrup

Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c. Pecans, toasted and chopped

½ c. Unsalted Butter, softened

8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold

¼ c. Shortening

¼ t. Salt

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

4 c. Powdered Sugar


⅓ c. Flaked Sweetened Coconut, toasted


For the Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 9-inch round pans and line with parchment paper.

Beat butter and sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugar, beating until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla and beat until blended.

Whisk together flour, soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture alternately with milk, begginging and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in one cup flaked coconut and grated orange rind.

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into batter. Divide batter evenly between the two pans.

Bake for 25-28 minutes until a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks or remove from pans, wrap in foil and store in the freezer until ready to use.

For the Orange Marmalade

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan; gradully whisk in fresh orange juice. Whisk in lightly beaten eggs. Bring to a boil (5 to 6 minutes) over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until mixture reaches a pudding-like thickness. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and grated orange rind. If the mixture ends up with pieces of cook egged in it (mine did) simply push it through a very fine mesh sieve with the back of a large spoon in to a bowl. Cover, placing plastic wrap directly on curd and chill for at least 8 hours or until ready to use.

For the Glazed Pecans

Combine pecan halves and corn syrup, stirring to coat pecans. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange pecan halves in an even layer in pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Stir using a rubber spatula and bake 3 minutes more. Remove from oven and arrange in an even layer on another piece of foil and let cool completely.

For the Pecan Cream Cheese Frosting

Cream Butter, shortening and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in salt and vanilla. Gradually beat in powdered sugar on low speed until creamy and well blended. Stir in pecans.

To Assemble

Split cake layer in half horizontally. Place a layer on a plate or cake stand and spread with a thin layer of frosting and then marmalade. Top with a cake layer. Spread with another thin layer of frosting and marmalade. Top with third cake layer and spread again with frosting and marmalade. Top with final cake layer and frost sides and top of cake with the remaining pecan cream cheese frosting. Garnish with glazed pecans and toasted coconut. Serve with remaining orange marmalade.

Leave a comment »

%d bloggers like this: