Spumoni Mousse Cake

Being from an Italian family and growing up in Youngstown, Ohio where there was a large Italian population it is inevitable that Spumoni was bound to turn up here sooner or later.  As a child I loved spumoni ice cream and it was readily available in Youngstown both in restaurants and in the grocery store.  When I moved to California it was almost as if the stuff ceased to exist.  For the first 20 years that I lived here I never saw it either in the grocery stores or in Italian restaurants.  I understood this in the fancy trendy restaurants but I would have thought it would have been a staple in the mom and pop places that I frequented in my lean military years out here.  Nothing.

When I moved to San Diego and got into the foodie scene, most people I talked with had never even heard of it.  When we sold our suburban home and moved into town I was floored to discover that the little Italian restaurant just around the corner had spumoni on their menu and it was like childhood all over again.  I order it every time we go to that restaurant.  In the last year or so I have been surprised to occasionally find it in the grocery store and of course a gallon of it always comes home with me when I find it.

This cake was a delightful surprise to find and I of course had to try it.  It really isn’t a cake but two frozen mousses (a cherry and almond layer and a pistachio layer) covered in sweetened whipped cream.  It does surprising taste like supmoni ice cream and the only thing I would change is that I would add almonds to the almond layer along with the almond extract.  For now I just sprinkle some silvered almonds on each serving.

 

Spumoni Mousse Cake

Cherry Layer

1/4 oz. package of powdered gelatin
2 tbsp. maraschino cherry juice
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole milk or half and half
8 oz. high quality white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp. almond extract or 1/4 tsp. almond oil
Few drops of pink food coloring
24 maraschino cherries, chopped into “chips”
1 1/2 cups whipping cream

Pistachio Layer

1 tsp. powdered gelatin
2 tbsp. cold water
1 1/2 tablespoons egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup whole milk or half and half
4 oz. high quality white chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons instant pistachio pudding
Drop of green food coloring (if desired)
1 cup heavy whipping cream

For the cherry layer

Lightly grease the bottom and sides of two 7 or 8-inch spring form pans. Line the bottoms with a parchment paper round. Set aside.

Place the 2 tbsp. cherry juice in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over water.  Let stand for 1 minute.

Whisk in egg yolks and sugar; mix well.  Stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Cook until thickened considerably 7-10 minutes. When done, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Stir in chopped white chocolate and blend with a whisk until chocolate has melted and has an even color.  Let cool.

When mixture is cooled to just barely warm, whisk in almond extract and pink food coloring.  Stir in cherry chips.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the cooled cherry mixture until well blended.

Pour into a prepared spring-form pan and level the top with a rubber spatula.  Pick up and drop the pan once or twice to settle any gaps that may have been created when the mixture was poured.  Place in freezer and freeze until firm.  Wash and dry your saucepan, bowl, spatula, whisk and beaters for the next layer.

For the pistachio layer

Place the 2 tbsp. water in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over water.  Let stand for 1 minute.  Whisk in egg yolk and sugar.  Stir in milk.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly.  Cook until thickened considerably 5-7 minutes. When done, it should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.   Stir in chopped white chocolate and blend with a whisk until chocolate has melted and has an even color.  Whisk in instant pistachio pudding mix.  Let cool.

When mixture is cooled to just barely warm, whisk in a drop of green food coloring to intensify the green color, if desired.

Whip cream until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold whipped cream into the cooled pistachio mixture until well blended.  Pour into the remaining prepared spring-form pan and level the top with a rubber spatula.  Pick up and drop the pan once or twice to settle any gaps that may have been created when the mixture was poured.  Place in freezer and freeze until firm.

Vanilla whipped cream and assembly

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
Pink food coloring
12 whole maraschino cherries, rinsed and patted dry

Remove pans of mousse from the freezer. Use a dish towel soaked in hot water then wrung dry to warm the outside of the spring-form collars and then gently unlatch and remove the collars. Turn the cherry layer onto a serving platter or cake stand and peel off the parchment round.  Stack the pistachio layer on top of the cherry layer and press down until layers are even.  If you have gaps between the layers, use an off-set spatula to smooth the two layers together.  Peel off parchment circle.

Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, and then gradually add the sugar. Add in the vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form.  Frost the upper half of the mousse cake white whipped cream; avoid frosting the top – we want the pretty green color of the pistachio mousse to show.  Tint the remaining whipped cream pink and frost the lower portion with the pink whipped cream. Use one large spatula to smooth the two colors together on the sides of the cake.  Transfer remaining pink whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.  Pipe 12 pink whipped cream florets on the top outer edge of the cake.  Place a cherry in the center of each floret.  Store cake in the freezer.  Slice into pieces while still partially frozen.  Serve frozen or let slices come to room temperature.

Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake

Between social obligations and being away in Michigan visiting my best friend Jill it has been several weeks since I have been able to bake.  This was a rather busy weekend as well so I wanted something quick and easy to ease back into baking.  This easy bundt cake was just the ticket.  It only has a few ingredients and goes together in about 10 minutes, mostly by hand so not alot of clean up either.  It is a rather small cake but packs a nice lemony punch and is just the thing for early morning or late evening snacking.

Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake

Ingredients

2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour 270 grams
1 3/4 cups icing/powdered sugar 218.75 grams
4 eggs (large)
2/3 cup whole cream 150 ml, heavy cream or whipping cream
7 tablespoons butter melted 100 grams
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla 5 grams
2 teaspoons baking powder 10 grams
1/2 teaspoon salt 2.85 grams

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350° (180° celsius).

Lightly grease and flour an 9 1/2 inch bundt cake pan.  Melt butter and let cool completely.  Grate the zest of one lemon.

In a large bowl beat on medium speed eggs and sugar until light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, then alternating with the cream gently fold into egg mixture with a spatula, keep folding until mixture is combined, gently fold in lemon peel, vanilla and melted butter.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Let cool, then dust with confectioners sugar.

Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

I came across this cake on yet another of my Google searches for new bundt cake recipes.  I love apple cakes and this one has that cream cheese type cheesecake filling in the center and lots of tart Granny Smith apples chopped up in the cinnamon-nutmeg spiced batter so I figured it was worth at least one try.

It is delicious.  A nicely spiced batter flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice and loaded with chopped tart apples.  In then center of this spicy batter is a thick ring of cream cheese cheesecake which bakes through the cake and adds a nice smooth richness and tang and to the spicey apple cake.  Heavenly

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

cream cheese filling

  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cake

  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans (plus extra for garnish, optional)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 2-3 medium apples)

praline frosting

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the filling: Add the cream cheese, butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.

Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toaste in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until fragrant. Remove the pan to a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice together. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix just until combined (I started with a whisk and switched to a rubber spatula). Fold in the toasted pecans and chopped apples until distributed throughout the batter.

Spoon about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared 12-cup bundt pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan (I found this tricky, just do the best you can). Use a thin paring knife to swirl the cream cheese filling with the cake batter just a few times – less is more. Top the filling with the remaining cake batter.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours).

To make the frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-qt saucepan. Set over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Gently stir the frosting until it starts to thicken, then pour it over the cooled cake. (The frosting will set up quickly, so don’t make it in advance – wait until the cake has cooled completely.) Garnish with extra pecans, if desired.

Peanut Butter Banana Bundt Cake

Now that my friend Jill has me totally hooked on bundt cakes it seems as though I am constantly on the lookout for new bundt cake recipes.  A recent search on the internet turned up this peanut butter and banana cake.  I am crazy about banana cake and peanut butter and banana sandwiches were a childhood favorite (actually, they still are a favorite) so I knew I had to try this.

The recipe calls for peanut butter filled DelightFulls which are chocolate morsels filled with peanut butter.  They are made by Nestle Toll House and actually come in about 6 flavors of filling.  I went to about 5 different stores and couldn’t find them in any flavor so I decided to just use regular semi-sweet morsels and peanut butter morsels and just use half the amount called for of each.  I think it worked out fine.  I imagine you could used mini Reeses peanut butter cups and chop them up and get the same flavor.  It all seems good to me.

It is an easy cake to put together and has a nice rich banana flavor which is nicely set off by the chocolate and peanut butter chips.  In all honesty I think I would like it just as well as plain banana cake.  See what you think.

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA BUNDT CAKE

For the cake

4-5 overly ripe bananas (about 1 ½ cups)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup neutral oil, like canola or safflower
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 ounce) package peanut butter filled DelightFulls™, divided
1 tablespoon all purpose flour

For the glaze

½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch salt

Procedure

For the cake

Take ½ cup of the DelightFulls™ from the bag and chop into halfs and ¼ pieces. Set aside.
In a small bowl, toss together the remaining DelightFulls™ and 1 tablespoon flour to coat the morsels. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a small bundt pan with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt for 30 seconds to distribute the leavening.

In the bowl of a food processor, puree the bananas until smooth. Add the oil and then the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined. Add the vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Add the banana mixture and mix to combine.

Add the flour, all at once, and mix on low until just combined and smooth.

Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Sprinkle ½ of the flour coated morsels over the batter. Pour 1/3 of the batter over the morsels and sprinkle with the remaining flour-coated morsels and top with the remaining batter.

Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently poked and a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Turn the warm cake out onto a serving platter. Allow to cool completely.

For the glaze

In a small bowl, stir together the confectioner’s sugar, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and salt until smooth. Spoon over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the reserved, chopped DelightFulls™.

Limoncello Lemon Syrup Bundt Cake

The last time I made Limoncello I got a bit carried away and made way more than I usually do.  Since then I am always offering it to anyone that stops by and I am always looking for recipes to use it in.  I came across this one somewhere on the internet and since it used limoncello and was a pound cake I figured how could I go wrong.

It is a simple pound cake.  Nothing really all that special.  As you can see it uses a good deal of lemon zest and has limoncello  and lemon extract on the cake batter as well as as a limoncello syrup and a lemony glaze so if you are a lemon and limoncello fan as I am you can’t miss here.

It was also an excuse to use my new Bundt Squared pan.

Limoncello Syrup Lemon Cake

For the Cake:

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups cake flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, room temp
3 large egg yolks, room temp
3 Tablespoons limoncello
2 Tablespoons lemon extract
3/4 cup heavy cream

 

 

For the Limoncello Syrup:

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon limoncello

For the Glaze and Topping:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat your 10″ Bundt pan REALLY well with nonstick cooking spray. If your spray has flour in it then you will not have to dust the pan with flour. Otherwise dust the pan with flour:).

In a large bowl combine all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Sift ingredients together. (Do not skip this part.) Set aside.

To the bowl of your stand mixer add vegetable oil, butter, confectioners’ sugar and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until mixture resembles a pale yellow; about 4 minutes. Add eggs, limoncello and lemon extract, continue to beat on medium speed for one minute more. Add the flour mixture and heavy cream in three alternating batches starting and ending with the flour. Scrape down the bowl if necessary and do not overmix here. Run the mixer enough to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in the middle tier of the oven for one hour, rotate the pan halfway through. Use a toothpick to make sure the cake is done and set on a cooling rack for 30 minutes before turning it onto your cake stand.

While the cake is cooling make the limoncello syrup. Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat over low heat to dissolve sugar. Should only take a couple of minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Poke holes all over cake with a skewer and brush the syrup all over.

When the cake is completely cooled make the glaze. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely smooth. Pour over top of Bundt Cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. Top with almonds and let the glaze set.

Apricot Almond Pound Cake

Well, it has finally happened.  I have abandoned my long time hatred of specialty pans and fallen under the spell of my dearest friend Jill, the Queen of Bundt Cakes and avid collector of bundt pans.  While I have been making my share of bundt cakes lately and really enjoying them, I have steadfastly stuck to my rule of not buying specialty pans.   I have used only my old fashioned original bundt pan and my favorite Heritage bundt pan.   Last weekend while rummaging through the used book stores I came across a small book called Bundt Cake Bliss by Susanna Short.  I flipped through it, saw that it had a nice selection of cakes which could be easily made with common ingredients that I always have on hand.  The book was only a few dollars so I tossed it on my pile and brought it home.  Once I had a chance to really look through it and compile a list of the recipes I wanted to try I started thinking about Jills pantry cupboard and all her bundt pans neatly lined up and I started envying her for her collection.  Then it dawned on me that I had a couple of Amazon gift cards in my drawer and off I went to check out which pans I could get for my gift cards.  I decided on the Bundt Sqaured pan and the Bavaria pan.  I used the Bavaria pan here and I am very pleased with the results.

This was a very easy cake to put together and as I have often said, pound cake is my favorite.  This one has the usual pound cake texture with the added benefit of a ribbon of apricot preserves in the center.  I am sure you could easily substitute whatever flavor you wanted.  Just leave out the almond extract or change that to go with whatever flavor of preserves you want.  Have fun.

Apricot Almond Pound Cake

CAKE

2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup apricot preserves

GLAZE

1/2 cup apricot preserves
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup water

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 12-cup Bundt pan using butter and flour or Baker’s Joy and set aside.

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Beat the butter for several seconds in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and almond extract and beat for 2 to 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Add the sour cream and mix well. In a small bowl, whip 1/2 cup of the apricot preserves until light and the larger pieces of apricot have been broken into smaller bits.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Spoon the preserves into the center taking care that the preserves don’t touch the sides of the pan. Spoon the remaining batter on top, being sure to completely envelope the preserves.

Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cake clean. Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn onto a serving plate.

To prepare the glaze, combine in a small saucepan the remaining 1/2 cup of apricot preserves, the lemon juice, and water. Bring to a boil and beat until combined and the larger apricot pieces of have broken into smaller bits. The glaze should be slightly thickened, but thin enough to pour. If it is too thick, add more water. If it is too thin, cook longer.

Spoon or brush the glaze over the hot cake, taking care to cover it thoroughly.

Baileys Dark Chocolate Guinness Loaf

I hate beer, but I do like a stout and especially Guinness.  Have never been able to figure out why I like it and hate the taste of beer so intently but that’s the way it is.  I especially like cooking and baking with Guinness and whenever I find a new recipe using it I always give it a try.

I made this for St. Patricks day for our HOA party and it was well received.  I didn’t get a chance to taste it that and I had a few bottles of Guinness left so I decided to make it again.

It is very easy and it’s really just a standard tea loaf.  It has a nice moist crumb with the rich malty taste you get from Guinness and the loaf is studded throughout with chopped walnuts and chocolate chips which gives it a nice richness and extra texture.  Certainly easy and worth having on hand for snacking.  It also has a nice glaze enriched with the smoothness of Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys Dark Chocolate Guinness Bread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1 egg
1 cup Guinness

Baileys Glaze

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp Baileys
2tsp half and half cream

Instructions

For the Dark Chocolate Guinness Bread

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×5 pan with baking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the edges of the bowl, then mix in egg. Add beer and mix for 30 seconds, just enough to break apart butter mixture into the beer.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients, mixing gently in between. When all dry ingredients have been added, mix until just combined, when dry ingredients are no longer visible.
  5. Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, then pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean with a few moist crumbs.
  7. Let bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Baileys Glaze

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, Baileys, and cream.
  2. If you’d like the frosting to be thinner, add a small splash of baileys until desired consistency is reached. If you’d like the frosting to be thicker, add I tbsp powdered sugar at a time until frosting is thick enough.
  3. Once bread has cooled, drizzle Baileys glaze on top of bread.
  4. Bread can be stored in a sealed container and kept on the counter for up to S days.

 

Pistachio Nut Cake

Pistachios have sort of been a recurring theme in my baking for the past several weeks.  I do admit that pistachios are my favorite nut and I will sit and eat handlfuls of them as a snack just as much as I will use them in my baking and savory cooking.  I have a very special fondness for this cake.  My high school friend Maries mother used to make this cake all the time and when I would go to Maries house (which was practically everyday) she would have it and we would sit around the kitchen table ( I really don’t know what it is about Italians and spending their lives around the kitchen table) and drink espresso and eat this cake.  It became a favorite of mine and Maries mom gave it to my mom and she in turn made it for me all the time.  When I left home to join the Navy back in 1979 I didn’t know that that would be the last time I had it or that it would so often pop into my head and bring back wonderful memories.  My mom was one of those people who didn’t really seem to need a recipe.  When I would go home on visits I would sit in the kitchen with my mom as she cooked and I would go through her recipe files and they would be lists of ingredients with no instructions or even a title.  My mom would just know from the ingredients what the recipe was and how to make it.   I kept trying to explain to her how that wasn’t going to help my sister and I when the time came and we would inherit these recipes.  Luckily I would ask my mom to teach me how to make most of my favorites and my sister did the same and these days we teach each other the favorite “mom” recipes.  This one however got lost somewhere and I have searched for it for ages with no luck.  It was funny that this past Christmas when I was home visiting my sister that we talked about this very cake.  My sister said that she remembered it but never came across the recipe in my moms files.

A few weeks ago I stopped by my neighbor Joans for some reason and she called me in the kitchen and asked me if I had ever heard of this cake.  She showed me the recipe and I was floored.  There it was, my moms recipe for Pistachio Nut cake.  I launched into this epistle about how my mom used to make this cake for me all the time and how I had been longing to have it again for years and on and on (as I have a tendency to do).  Well, I walked out of Joans house with the treasured recipe in my hot little hands.  I wanted to make it right away but didn’t have the ingredients.

The recipe is really one of those 1970’s semi-homemade things which I ordinarily avoid like the plague.  It is practically all made by dumping boxes of things in a bowl, stirring it together and baking.  This one calls for a yellow cake mix, a box of pistachio pudding and a package of Dream Whip (which my mom always had in the cupboard but which I didn’t think they even made anymore).  Ordinarily I wouldn’t be caught dead making something like this but this one is so dear to my heart that I made an exception for it.  It literally takes 5 minutes to dump everything in the bowl, mix it for a few minutes and putting it in the oven.

I will add here that my mother rarely sliced her cake and filled it with the frosting.  She rarely even made the frosting.  I remember this cake as mostly being served plain with just a dusting of confectioners sugar and I admit to preferring it that way but fill and frost as you see fit.

Pistachio Nut Cake

Cake:

1 pkg. yellow cake mix
1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding 3 eggs
1 cup club soda
1 cup cooking oil
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Note: Do not follow ANY directions on cake or pudding packages.

Mix first 5 ingredients and beat 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts. Pour into greased and floured 10″ Bundt pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cool 15 minutes and remove from pan. Cool in refrigerator. Slice in half horizontally

.Filling:

1 pkg. pistachio instant pudding
1 1 ½ cup cold milk (non-fat is ok)
1 envelope Dream Whip

Beat until thick, about 5 minutes. Put bowl in sink while beating, as it splashes.  Spread half the filling on bottom half of cake, including the hole. Put layers together. Put rest of filling into center of cake and top of cake. Put chopped walnuts on top if desired. Refrigerate. Best if made a day ahead. Serve cake cold.

Andes Chocolate Cake

I usually bring most of my weekend baking into work on Monday morning or share it with our neighbors.  On most weekends we don’t even cut into whatever I make.  Norman isn’t much of a sweet eater and if I cut into it that is a sure sign that I will eat the whole thing and my waistline doesn’t fare well when I do that so I try to get the stuff out of the house as soon as possible.

I bring so many baked goods to the office that when I don’t bring them in there is a steady stream of people through my office on Monday morning wanting to know what happened.  One of my co workers usually brings a slice of whatever I bring in home to his wife Julia.  A few weeks ago Julia requested that I make something chocolate.  While I have to admit that I am rather bored with chocolate desserts. I admit I have a special fondness for the often time consuming composed cakes, lately I have been spending alot of time exploring the easy bundt cake recipes that I avoided for so long.  I didn’t want to ignore Julias request so I found this interesting (and still easy) chocolate peppermint cake.  I hope she likes it.

The name Andes (referring to the Andes after dinner mints in the green wrappers) chocolate cake is a bit of a misnomer.  The cake itself has no mint in it at all, the Andes mints here are reserved just for the chocolate ganache the cake is frosted with.

The original recipe for this that I found called for a chocolate cake mix.  If that is your pleasure, certainly use one.  I prefer not to use them.  I had found a chocolate cake recipe a while bake that I decided to try here.  It is super easy.  Mix the dry ingredient together, mix the wet ingredients together.  Mix these together until combined.  Add a cup of hot coffee, mix to combine, pour into pans and bake.  It is that easy and produces a very light, moist chocolate cake.  It was a pleasure to find this simple recipes makes such a nice layer.  It is rather delicate.  While frosting I found that I was being a bit heavy handed and was tearing the edges of the cake, it is that moist.

The ganache here is made in the traditional way by pouring the hot cream over the chocolate, letting it stand and then stirring to blend.  Simple.

This cake is filled with a light peppermint buttercream simply made by beating together butter and confectioners sugar and adding a bit of peppermint extract.  It all comes together to make a rather nice, not too minty chocolate cake.

ANDES CHOCOLATE CAKE

Yield: 12 servings

Ingredients

devil’s food cake mix (My cake recipe below)

Peppermint Buttercream

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. peppermint extract
4-6 drops green gel food coloring, optional

Chocolate Ganache

1 pt. heavy cream
24 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup Andes mints, plus more for garnish

Directions

  1. Bake two 9″ round layers of chocolate cake according to box instructions. Let cool completely.
  2. Make ganache. Make the Ganache: Pour heavy cream into a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring the heavy cream to a simmer, and once you see tiny bubbles form around the edges, remove from heat and add chocolate chips, whisking until combined. Let mixture chill until it reaches a spreadable consistency, at least 30 minutes, before frosting cake.
  3. Cream together all buttercream ingredients in a large bowl until light and fluffy, adding more powdered sugar if the frosting is too loose. Add food drops and stir until evenly combined. Add more until you reach your desired color.
  4. Top one round cake with peppermint buttercream, then place the second cake on top of it. Frost the top and sides of the with ganache. Garnish the bottom of the cake with Andes mints. Top with chopped mints. Serve.

Chocolate Layer Cake

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup piping hot coffee

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and grease two 9 inch round layer pans.
  2. Add all the dry cake ingredients to a bowl or stand mixer.
  3. Next add all the wet ingredients except for the coffee and mix until combined.
  4. Finally, pour in the HOT coffee and stir it in until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour batter evenly into the cake pans and bake 30-34 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven when done and allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes then flip cakes out onto the rack and allow to cool completely.

Almond-Amaretto Poundcake

I had a rather busy weekend with errands and household chores but I did want to bake a little something.  I found this wonderful variation on my favorite poundcake and decided to give it a quick try.

It is a nice firm textured poundcake with the added attraction of almond extract and wonderful amaretto liquer.  I am not a huge fan of almond extract as I feel it has a strange aftertaste but smoothed out with the butter, milk and amaretto it loses that medicinal taste and adds a mellow sweetness to this cake.

The cake is as easy as a regular pound cake.  Cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs and flavorings and then alternate the wet and dry ingredients and that’s it.  Into the oven for about an hour and then cool it in the pan and unmold the tastiness for all to enjoy.  I have included the recipe below but you can also find it on the Dixie Crystal website.

http://www.dixiecrystals.com/recipes/desserts/cakes/Almond-Amaretto-Poundcake

 

Almond Amaretto Pound Cake
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour*
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1/4 cup amaretto

Amaretto Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 cup half & half
  • 3 tablespoons amaretto

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 10-inch bundt pan with baking spray or butter and flour it. Set aside.
  2. In small bowl, whisk together milk and vinegar. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. In large bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla and almond until well combined. Beat in flour mixture alternating with milk and amaretto.
  4. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until center is set and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow cake to cool completely (in bundt pan) before inverting onto cake plate.
  5. Amaretto Sauce: Combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until smooth. Add the cream and amaretto and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Serve pound cake warm drizzled with amaretto sauce.