Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lemon Gooey Butter Cake

I love Paula Deen, and for some reason this weekend, her cookbook The Lady & Sons Just Desserts called out to me. I have been making chocolate and nut type edibles the last couple of weeks and was just in the mood for something different. I choose a lemon Gooey Butter Cake. Although Paula is famous for these, they are not her original creation.

The Gooey Butter Cake originated in the 1930s. According to legend, a German baker added the wrong proportions of ingredients in the coffee cake batter he was making. It turned into a gooey, pudding-like filling.

This cake consists of a dry, flat base covered with a "goo" mixture. It is sticky and chewy and very delicious. This ultra-sweet treat is a St. Louis tradition and available in local bakeries all around the city of St. Louis. The original cakes are made with a yeast raised sweet dough on the bottom, but now days most recipes use a cake on the bottom. It is generally served as a type of coffee cake and not as a dessert cake.

I like the lemon a lot! Traditionally you would sprinkle these with powdered sugar before serving, but since I am not really a fan of the, I didn't. And its not like they need more sugar! I would like to try the pineapple variation next. The recipe and variations that follow have been taken straight from her book. BUT look at the other variations I found online!
Almond Joy
Apple Cinnamon
Banana Chocolate Chip
Berry Explosion
Caramel Apple
Chai Latte
Egg Nog
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
. . . Ok, I give up! Too many to type! Check out this bakery site for other ideas. No recipes are provided (they are trying to sell you these, after all!), but it sure gets the ideas flowing. By the way, Paula sells these for $29, plus shipping on QVC. Apparently they make great gifts! The recipe is simple easy, so try one! Let me know if you do!

1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick butter), melted
1 8-oz pack cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 16-oz box confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, and butter and mix well. Pat into the bottom of prepared pan and set aside.
  3. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth; add eggs and vanilla. Dump in confectioners' sugar and beat well. Reduce speed of mixer and slowly pour in butter. Mix well.
  4. Pour filling onto cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Don't be afraid to make a judgment call on the cooking time, because oven temperatures can vary. You want the center to be a little gooey, so don't bake it past that point! (and she's not kidding! - Dee)
  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into squares. Just remember that these wonderful little cakes are very, very rich, and a little will go a long way.
Pumpkin Gooey: Follow the original recipe, adding a 15-ounce can of pumpkin pie filling and an extra egg to the cream cheese filling. Bake as usual, remove from oven, and allow to cool. Cut into squares and top each square with a pecan half. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Pineapple Gooey: Add a 20-ounce can of drained crushed pineapple and an extra egg to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

Lemon Gooey: Use a lemon cake mix in place of the yellow cake. Add the juice (approximately 1/4 cup) and zest of 2 lemons to the cream cheese filling. Proceed: as directed above.

Carrot Cake Gooey: Use a spice cake mix, and add 1 cup chopped nuts and 1 1/2 cup finely grated carrots to the cream cheese filling. Proceed as directed above.

Peanut Butter Gooey: Use a chocolate cake mix. Add 1 cup creamy peanut butter and an extra egg to cream cheese filling. You can sprinkle the top of batter with 1 cup chopped peanuts if you like. Proceed as directed above.

Chocolate Chip Gooey: Use either yellow or chocolate cake mix. Sprinkle 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped nuts on top of filling. Proceed as directed above.

Banana Gooey: Use a yellow cake mix. Prepare cream cheese filling as directed, beating in 2 ripe bananas and an extra egg. Proceed as directed above.

Nutty Gooey: Use a yellow cake mix, and add 1 cup chopped nuts to the cake mixture. Proceed as directed above.

Chippy Gooey: Stir 1 cup white chocolate chips, peanut butter chocolate chips, butterscotch morsels, Heath Almond Toffee Bits or Heath Milk Chocolate Toffee Bits into filling. Proceed as directed above.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Toll House Pie

Today's COW is a Toll House Pie. Not a COW at all! But, after spending Saturday at the 2010 Cupcake Challenge, I was all COW'd out. You can read about our adventure in the previous post.

What my friends said . . .

A little while ago I came by
And even if you didn’t see me with your eye
I grabbed a yummy piece of pie
To which my tummy said, “Oh my!”
                                                                            . . . Deanne

Sunday, February 21, 2010

2010 Nesquik Cupcake Challange

Can you say "sugar rush"??? That is exactly what we walked in to when we arrived at the 2010 Nesquik Cupcake Challenge, held at the Hollywood Renassiance Hotel in Hollywood Saturday afternoon.

My friend Dawn (Desserts by Dawn) and I arrived shortly after the doors opened, checked in at the door, and away we went!

After being handed a bottle of chocolate milk by a giant Nesquik rabbit, we made our way inside. We quickly realized we were in trouble! First, because there were LOTS of cupcakes to sample, and second because we were clearly totally unprepared Cupcake Challenge virgins. A glance around the ballroom revealed a lot of people who had been there before and were prepared with various kinds of cupcake carrying equipment. We saw everything from fancy plastic cupcake carriers and disposable takeout containers to box lids and used cake boxes snapped up from the exhibitors as they emptied their cupcakes onto their display tables. Which was exactly what we did.

Armed with our ballots, we started out. Our first samples were from the The Cake House - a yummy red velvet cupcake dipped in ganache, and a cranberry orange cupcake, which is one of my top 3 favorites. The ballots were divided into 2 categories - "Traditional" and "Original" so many of the bakeries had entered one (or more) in each category. This means there are now at least double the amount of cupcakes to eat than we thought! This is when we knew we were in trouble, and went looking for a "carrier". We started off snagging a large box lid, but as we went from booth to booth loading up, it became unstable and wobbly, making our lovely little bites of sugary goodness tip over and touch each other, mixing frostings into unwanted combinations. We managed to grab some plastic clamshell style mini-cupcake carriers (thank you My Delight Cupcakery!) and life got somewhat easier. Thank you, Dawn for carrying them all afternoon!

Our second stop was Charmed Cupcakes. They were handing out FULL SIZE cupcakes! Red Velvet, Chocolate and Blueberry. What were they thinking?? This is where we decided we needed to sit and eat, and finally managed to find an open seat. This is also where the thought of eating a bazillion more cupcakes sort of lost its shine. Our tablemates were crossing their eyes too, while chewing on whatever flavors they had collected, and looking like they were going to pop. But, being strong, went swallowed, washed it down with a big swig of chocolate milk, and ventured on.

We saw dazzling displays of beautifully decorated mini cupcakes, custom cupcake stands and towers, and very clever displays, We met the bakers whose blogs we follow and admire, and put faces to the names we had just read about. Some we names we had heard of and watched on FoodNetwork, and others were local celebrities.

Some of the cupcakes we tasted were awesome, like the Banana Caramel from Jus Minis, the Orange Cranberry from The Cake Shop, and the Coconut from Friandise Pasteries. One of the not-so favorites was a chocolate bacon cupcake with some kind of whiskey flavored frosting. This one mini, 3 bite cupcake was spit out by both of us, my husband, and even some critter that ripped into my garbage outside, eating left over sushi but spitting the remaining blob of this cupcake on the cement. There were several of the breakfast/bacon-maple cupcakes offered by several bakeries. I don't think I have tried those samples yet.

I think it will be several days before I make my way through everything I brought home. I have several red velvet cupcakes, vanilla throwback cupcakes, key lime cupcakes, lavender vanilla cup cakes, pumpkin white chocolate, strawberry shortcake, sticky toffee pudding, hot chocolate, carrot cake, bananas foster, sunday mimosa, fall spice, lucky charm, rose petal, pumpkin, salted caramel, chocolate chip cookie dough, spiced apple with brown sugar, chocolate covered strawberry, breakfast cake, maple bacon, chocolate coconut, vanilla bean almond dream, chocolate vanilla swirl, Amaretto Sour, wedding cupcake, and even more! Some of the flavors have left me guessing, like Irish Car Bomb, Pretty Woman, Little Penguin and Pigs on Tap, but I'm looking forward to them all!

The only question now remains . . . who won the challenge?? I will let you know as soon as votes are tallied and the winner is announced. Until then, we are looking forward to next year's challenge and finding our own perfect cupcake carrier!

** UPDATE **
Announcing the Winners!

Best Traditional
1st Place: Big Man Bakes “Red Velvet”
2nd Place: Blue Cupcake “Sweet and Salty Vanilla”
3rd Place: Southern Girl Desserts “Red Velvet”

Best Original
1st Place: My Delight Cupcakery “Breakfast Cake”
2nd Place: Jus Minis “Caramel Banana”
3rd Place: Two Parts Sugar “Chocolate Covered Strawberry”

Best Overall
1st Place: Jus Minis “Caramel Banana”
2nd Place: My Delight Cupcakery “Breakfast Cake”
3rd Place: Two Parts Sugar “Chocolate Covered Strawberry”

You can also see Dan Silberstein’s LA Cupcake Challenge 2010 flickr set (here).
Congratulations to all the winners!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


What's a Brookie?? Brownies on the bottom, cookies on the top! Plus a middle layer of pecan praline.
You can find this recipe on the Pillsbury site - in fact, it was entered in the 2006 Pillsbury Bake Off. I don't think it won, but was certainly a winner among my friends! So good, and pretty simple - maybe just one step past a Boxacana. I was actually tempted to skip the praline layer. I am glad I didn't! It only took a few minutes and really adds to this brookie.
I will be making these again for sure!

What my friends said . . .

. . . The brookies were wonderful! May I please have the recipe???
. . . Oh my goodness. These were sooo good! They satisfied my big sweet tooth. Thanks!
. . . Wonderful!!!
. . . These are the best things you have ever made!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gone Bananas! S'mores Cupcakes

I loved this cake! The day I baked it, that is. Fresh banana cake is sooo good. It was topped with homemade dark chocolate frosting, then a layer of marshmallow frosting, sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs, and topped off with a piece of milk chocolate bar.
Although it took a pretty picture, it probably won't make anyone's list of favorites. I don't know for sure why, but it just didn't taste as good as it looked.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Peach Crunch Cake

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!!! If you thought the Ultimate Coffee Cake was fast, easy and delicious, wait until you try this! Personally, I like this one even better. Boxacana, no-prep baking at its best. Only 5 ingredients, very little measuring, and NO mixing! So without further ado, here's the recipe:

Peach Crunch Cake
(recipe courtesy of Bakerella)
One can or jar of sliced peaches in light syrup (29 oz)
One box yellow cake mix
One stick of butter
One cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Dump can of peaches, syrup and all, into a 9 x 13 baking dish
Sprinkle dry cake mix over the top, covering peaches
Cut butter into 16 slices and arrange on top of the cake mix layer
Sprinkle brown sugar on top of the butter layer
Top with chopped walnuts
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.
Enjoy warm with ice cream, room temp, or cold!

the layered look

My comments:
I used store brand peaches in pear juice.
I cut the peach slices in half once they were in the baking pan. It was easier to distribute them more evenly, and made it easier to dish up to serve.
I am sure I used way more than 1/2 cup nuts! (But I LOVE nuts!)
I tasted this warm from the oven - delicious! I refrigerated it overnight. I planned to dish it out and warm it up before serving, but couldn't resist the tempting mound of peach goodness begging me to taste it. So - I did! I think I prefer it cold, actually. The ingredients (mainly the butter, I'm sure!) firmed up and really made this crunchy. A lot more texture than when it is warm.
Also - I'm thinking . . . I bet canned apple, cherry or blueberry pie filling might work, too??

If you try this please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought.
~ enjoy! ~