Category Archives: recipes

Cooking lesson: Cream Puff Cake

Every year I like to make a fun Valentine’s treat for my family.  This year I decided to make my own version of a Cream Puff Cake from the Cake Boss show.  My version uses pastry, yellow cake, chocolate ganache, strawberries and a cream cheese filling.  It’s a little time intense to make, but delicious!

Cream Puff Cake
1 sheet puff pastry, baked
1 yellow cake mix + ingredients to prepare
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cubes butter, softened
2 lbs. powdered sugar
3 tsp. vanilla, divided
2-3 Tbsp. milk
16 oz. strawberries
3-4 kiwis, sliced
1 package mini cream puffs

Prepare cake mix according to directions.  Place half the batter in an 8 or 9-inch square pan.  Bake according to package directions.  Allow to cool completely.

Ganache: Place chocolate chips in medium glass or metal bowl.  Over medium heat, bring cream to a boil in small saucepan.  Remove from heat and pour over chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Cream cheese filling: Using electric mixer, combine cream cheese and 1 stick of butter.  When creamy, add 4 cups powdered sugar and 2 tsp. vanilla.  Mix until smooth and fluffy. Place into pastry bag with large tip and set aside.

Buttercream: In another large bowl, cream other stick of butter.  Add remaining tsp vanilla, 4-5 cups powdered sugar and 2 Tbsp. milk.  Mix well.  If needed, add extra milk to reach spreading consistency.  Set aside.

Slice 4-5 strawberries.  Set aside.  Using a potato masher, smash 5-6 strawberries in small bowl.  Set aside.

To assemble cake: slice puff pastry horizontally to create two square pieces.  Place one piece, cut side down, on serving platter.  Using pastry bag, cover with cream cheese filling.  Top with sliced strawberries.  Top with cake layer.  Pipe filling around top of cake.  Place pureed strawberries inside filling line.  Spread about 1/4 cup of ganache over strawberries.  Place pastry layer, cut side down, on top of strawberry and ganache filling.

Frost with buttercream.  Place cream puffs around cake edges.  Pipe fancy edges, if desired.  Spread ganache on cake top.  Decorate with strawberries and kiwi slices.  Drizzle ganache over everything.  Refrigerate until serving.

If you try it, please let me know what you think.

Cooking lesson: Easy Fruit Tarts

Today I’m sharing a recipe that is so simple it’s almost criminal to even call it a recipe.  This would be a great treat for your family for Valentine’s Day.
Easy Cherry Tarts
You really only need two ingredients:
Mini graham cracker pie crusts
1 can pie filling (any flavor will work)
 That’s it, that’s all you need.
Step 1: Open pie crusts and set them on a baking sheet.
 Step 2:  Open pie filling and spoon evenly into crusts. (I generally use 6-8 crusts and have no problems with them being full.  You could even go up to 10 or 12 per can if you really had to stretch your pie filling.)
Step 3:  Refrigerate for at least one hour.  
That’s it, you’re done.  See?  Easy, peasy.  
Now pat yourself on the back, relax and accept all the compliments for your yummy dessert that you must have slaved over for hours.

Cooking lesson: Candy Cane Cookies

I shared this recipe as a guest post at Bella Before and After a few days ago.  Let me know if you try them!

Today I’m sharing one of my family’s favorite Christmas recipes.  This is a recipe I grew up making every year and now I make these cookies with my children.

Candy Cane Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food color
crushed peppermint candy
1/4-1/2 cup granulated sugar

 Cream together the butter and shortening.  Add powdered sugar.  Mix in egg and flavorings.  Beat well.

Blend in flour and salt.

Divide dough in half.

Blend food color into one half.

To make cookies, take one tsp of each color dough.

Roll each into a 4-inch rope by rolling carefully back and forth on lightly floured surface..

Place ropes side by side and press together lightly.  Twist.

Place on ungreased cookie sheet and curve top to form the candy cane shape.

Recruit some helpers to make the assembly go quicker since each cookie has to be formed separately.

Bake about 8 minutes at 375 until very light brown and set.
Crush peppermint candy.  Mix with granulated sugar.

Remove hot cookies from sheet and gently roll or sprinkle with sugar mixture.  Place on waxed paper to cool.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies if you can keep the dough-eating monsters away. 🙂
These can be time consuming to make, but the kids have fun making them and they always get “oohs and aahs” when served.

Linking up:

One Artsy Mama

Cooking lesson: Sweet Cornbread

When the weather turns cool, I start baking.  There’s nothing on a cold, dreary day like a nice pot of homemade chili and cornbread.  I have no idea where this recipe originally came from.  My mom has made it for years and I think she got it from one of my aunts.  I hope you’ll like it as much as we do. 🙂

Sweet Cornbread
(Pretend this photo has flour and sugar.  My buckets are not photo worthy.)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups milk
Mix eggs and sugar.
(Yes, there are 4 eggs, I double the recipe for enough leftovers to eat some for breakfast the next day.)
 Add other ingredients.
 Mix together.
 Batter should be mostly smooth and about cake batter consistency.
 Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.
 Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cut into squares. 
Best when served with honey butter, or if you really want, it is good just plain, too.
Store extra covered and eat it for breakfast the next morning.  I suppose you could try freezing extra pieces, but I’ve never tried that, so I’m not sure how well it would work.

Linking up here: 

Happy Go Lucky