Thursday, April 12, 2012

Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars

For those of you who loved the Creme Brulee cupcakes- you HAVE to try this Creme Brulee cheesecake bar recipe- mixing fired up crunchy vanilla sugar AND cheesecake- talk about a winning combo!

Here is the recipe for Creme Brulee Cheesecake Bars

1.5 boxes (about 115) crushed Vanilla Wafer cookies
1/2 Cup melted butter
4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract

(Note- you can cut the crust recipe in half if you prefer a thinner crust- this recipe gives about a 1/3"-1/2" crust).
Step 1: Mix all crust ingredients together and press into the bottom of a greased 9" x 13" pan.
Step 2: Bake at 350 F for about 6-8 minutes.
Step 3: Allow crust to cool for 5-10 minutes before filling.

4- 8oz Packages cream cheese
1 Cup sugar
1 Cup sour cream
2 Whole eggs
4 Egg Yolks
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-4 Vanilla beans, scraped (optional- I just love the look of vanilla beans in pretty much anything dessert-like)

(Note- you can cut the filling recipe in half if you prefer a thinner cheesecake- this gives about 1" of filling on top of the crust- just make sure to decrease the baking time if you decrease the filling amount.)
Step 1: Mix the cream cheese, sugar and sour cream together until smooth.
Step 2: Incorporate the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla extract and beat until well incorporated.
Step 3: Pour mixture onto cooled cookie crust.
Step 4: Bake at 350 F for 40-45 minutes until the cheesecake mixture is firmly set in the center.
Step 5: Allow cheesecake to cool for 1-3 hours by refrigeration or longer if time permits.

1/2 - 1 Cup Vanilla sugar (lightly pulsed in a blender or food processor for up to 30 seconds)

Step 1: Just before you are ready to serve, put a light coating of vanilla sugar (or regular granulated sugar that has been pulsed a couple of times in the blender if vanilla sugar is not available).
Step 2: Cut into Bars or slices before torching the sugar.
Step 3: Using a kitchen torch (this is the fun part!) - torch the sugar until it turns a darker brown color by melting the sugar and allowing it to form a crystallised layer on top of the bars.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes

What is better than a chocolate cupcake? A chocolate chocolate cupcake.  'What does that mean?' you may be asking... it means this is one of the most chocolate-y cupcakes you'll ever indulge in! Adapted from the amazing "Cupcake Project" website... this is truly my new cupcake inspiration go-to site!

Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Chocolate cupcakes that are a new crowd-favorite.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups vanilla-infused sugar (or regular granulated sugar)
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup milk (or Heavy Whipping Cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes).
  2. Add eggs, beating until well combined. 
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder to the butter/sugar mixture.
  4. Mix in the milk and vanilla.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Scoop batter into cupcake cups about 1/2 full (I prefer to use a Large Cookie Scoop from the Pampered Chef).
  7. Bake at 340 degrees for 22-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not bake too long- cake can dry out too much.
While the cupcakes are baking, you can make this simple ganache that is great for filling and frosting your cupcakes.
  1. 1/3 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  2. 1/2 Cup 62% (or greater) Dark Chocolate chips (you could also substitute white chocolate if you prefer)
  1. Heat the whipping cream until lightly boiling (constantly stirring so as to not burn the cream).
  2. Put the chocolate into a glass or metal bowl.  
  3. Pour the heated cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Stir the chocolate/cream mixture until the lumps smooth out.  
  5. Place in a pastry bag with a round tip, and inject the chocolate ganache into the cupcake as filling. 
  6. Next, pipe the warm ganache on top of the cupcake, and smooth with a knife or spoon (I hold the spreader or knife in the same position and spin the cupcake in a circle to coat the cupcake).  Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before moving to prevent the chocolate from dripping.
  7. Serve with an iced cold glass of milk

First Birthday Party

My adorable, wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, amazing (I could go on and on- but this blog is short) niece and godchild turned 1 this year!  And I got to make her cake, cupcakes and cake pops! (And my husband and I got to buy her saddle to go with the miniature horse grammie and grandpa got her- mini-horse can be viewed at the end of this post :) ).  Here are some photos that captured the event of the year! (Note: I don't know how I didn't get photos of the pinata- it was huge!)

The kids' table- coloring books, bubbles and toys.

       What first birthday would be complete without a jumper for the kiddos?
Some decorations my sister came up with- paper lanterns wrapped in clear plastic for a "candy" appearance.

 Cake pops! White cake with pink vanilla buttercream frosting, and pink and white sprinkles.

Cake pops- chocolate cake with pink vanilla buttercream frosting and white sprinkles.

Vanilla cupcakes filled with vanilla buttercream, topped with vanilla buttercream and green sixlets. 

Miss Avery with Uncle Charlie and Aunt Lena- smashing her neon pink smash cake (her mom picked out the pink buttercream, I just put it on some cake for her- I accept no blame for the fluorescent pink color that is shown covering her face, hands and dress in this photo!)

 The smash cake- neon pink, with green sixlets and white gumpaste rose.

 Avery's miniature horse- what every little girl wants- and bows in her hair for this special occasion!

Baby Shower- Monkeys (and other Jungle Friends)

My Great Aunt threw a baby shower for her daughter, and I was blessed to be asked to cater the event for Megan and baby Blake!  It was so much fun thinking up "jungle" themed foods- then getting to serve the food at my Aunt's wonderfully decorated themed shower was absolutely amazing.  Here are some photos of the big day- it was so much fun to plan out the menu and see it all pull together with the help of a few wonderful relatives of mine :)

Chocolate covered jungle critter pretzels

Chocolate covered coconut candy and jungle-animal cut-out rice krispies for fondue dipping.

Individual servings of Monkey Bread

Salad with various fruits and berries for dipping in fondue....chocolate...yum.

Snack table with monkey sugar cookies and jungle pretzels.  Also, look at the bowl on the left- cookie dough dip with animal cookies... also yum!

 The whole shebang of the dessert table- from the left- cake pops, monkey bread, cupcakes, cookie dough dip and animal cookies, monkey sugar cookies and chocolate covered pretzels.

Cupcakes! Chocolate and Vanilla- both with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Annndddd the most important part of the day- Mommy-to-Be! Congratulations to you, Chase and Baby Blake!

Ok, and one more photo of the monkeys :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I was aimlessly wandering the Internet the other day when I stumbled upon a recipe for Cinnamon Roll Cake.  I decided then and there that I had to make this cake- but for whom was I supposed to I bake it? I didn't have an event or any sort of meeting planned- so I decided to make two cakes (by doubling the recipe)- one for my hubby and me, and one for my office.  This cake was moist and dense and tasted just like a cinnamon roll- the only request my co-workers had was to bring a gallon of iced cold milk the next time I make this tasty concoction!

I modified the recipe I found online to suit my tastes- here is the original recipe- and below you will find my version.

Cake Ingredients
3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cup milk

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla (preferably pure vanilla, not extract)

1/2 cup butter, melted

1) Mix everything together except for the butter.
2) Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased spring form pan or a 9×13 pan.  (Do not place in oven yet)


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 - 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)

*Note- I made two cakes- 1 cake had pecans only, and 1 cake had pecans and mini-chocolate chips- my preference was the cake with the pecans only.

3) Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop nickel-sized pieces evenly over in the batter and swirl the pieces into the batter. Bake at 350 F for ~35 minutes in a spring form pan, or 28-32 minutes in a 9x13 pan.


Glaze (Make this while the cake is baking)
2 cups powdered sugar

5 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla (I prefer pure vanilla over vanilla extract)

4) While the cake is still warm, drizzle the glaze over the cake.