Impossible Cheesecake Pie

I’ve made many, many cheesecakes in my lifetime – some that were really bad (an Atkins version, which still makes Alexander cringe from the memory of it), some that were mediocre a (no finger pointing), a slow cooker version (it was really good!), a no-bake version (perfect during the summer when you don’t want to turn on the oven), and all the way down to our personal favorite.

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But this version, which contains an ingredient I have never bought or used before (Bisquick), was surprisingly good. Due to my own error, I overbaked it by about 10 minutes, which made it a bit dry. I am determined to make it again (watching the baking time more closely, of course), and not skip the optional sour cream topping. Because in our world, sour cream in any form is never optional.

Which reminds me, I’d better check our sour cream supply… heaven forbid we run low…..

Impossible Cheesecake Pie – adapted from Cookie Madness

  • 3/4 cup milk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Bisquick baking mix
  • 2 (8 oz) packages of cheese, softened

Optional Topping: 1 cup sour cream mixed with 2 tablespoons of sugar and a splash of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch pie plate generously with butter or spray with cooking spray.

In a blender, blend the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and Bisquick for 15 seconds. Cut the softened cream cheese into pieces and add it, then blend for about 2 minutes or until smooth.

Pour mixture into pie pan and bake for about 40 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for about an hour, then chill thoroughly before serving.

Iced Lemon Cake

With Valentine’s Day looming on the horizon, 90% of my waking thoughts have turned to chocolate. Copious, gluttonous, obscene amounts of chocolate.

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And not just any form of chocolate, mind you – because while candy is dandy for some, my craving goes a bit (read: a LOT) deeper. Here’s my current mindset: a rich chocolate cake, filled with deep, dark chocolate custard, covered in smooth chocolate icing and chocolate sprinkles. Then topped with chocolate ice cream and swimming in homemade hot fudge sauce.

yum.

Some people may cringe at the thought of all that chocolate, but I’m not like most people. If I could, I would eat chocolate all day, every day. However, since not all family members feel the way I do, I made them a bright, puckery Lemon Cake. It may not scream Valentine’s Day, but it sure is good.

Iced Lemon Cake -adapted from Ina Garten

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated lemon zest (6 to 8 large lemons)
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.

Cream the butter and 2 cups granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and the lemon zest.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Combine 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 cup lemon juice in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the cakes from the pans and set them on a rack set over a tray or sheet pan; spoon the lemon syrup over them. Allow the cakes to cool completely.

For the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and the lemon juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Pour over the tops of the cakes and allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides.

Our New Favorite Crumb Cake

Over the past two weeks, thanks to the amazingly warm weather we have been blessed with, I have logged quite a few miles in my spiffy new Nike running shoes.  However, before I go any further, allow me to state, for the record, that the preceding sentence was not a plug for the brand.

It was, in fact, a statement of fact. And that’s a fact…

I had to buy new athletic shoes when I took a close look at my old running shoes and realized why my feet were aching so badly after my workouts…. the soles were almost completely worn down in spots. A good sign (that means a lot of workouts) and a bad sign (that I neglected to replace them sooner).

The point of the story is that while I have been dutifully breaking in my new shoes, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to a new page I am working on for the blog, which is a listing of all our favorites that will facilitate my ability to find what I’m looking for in a reasonable amount of time. And since I discovered that I have 14 variations of chocolate chip cookies, I think it would behoove myself (and the posse, should they be so inclined..) to have the absolute favorites listed in one place.

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Which brings us to this crumb cake. It was, in a  word, sublime. I think what sent it to “most favored” status was the fact that the cake portion stays soft, even a few days after baking. The other version I was using became dry and unpalatable after a day or so.

And no one – repeat, no one – likes dry cake.

Mom – your comments were dutifully noted :)

Our New Favorite Crumb Cake – adapted from Cooks’ Illustrated

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour

Cake
1 1/4 cups  cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
confectioners’ sugar (optional, to finish)

To make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together both sugars, the cinnamon, and melted butter. Add the cake flour and use a rubber spatula to fold it in until cohesive. The mixture will be very thick. Allow to cool to room temperature, about 10-15 minutes.

To make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 F with a rack in the upper third. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving an overhang on opposite sides so you can lift the cake out afterward. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine the cake flour, sugar, and baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low briefly to combine. With the mixer still on low, add the butter, one piece at a time, and continue mixing until the mixture is crumbly, about 1-2 minutes (there shouldn’t be any visible chunks of butter left). Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk and increase the mixer to medium-high speed. Beat until the batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and spread into an even layer. Pick up the crumb topping by handfuls, and break off chunks, scattering them over the top of the batter. Use all of the topping – it will be a thick layer. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the crumb topping is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the pan to a wire rack and cool for at least 30 minutes, before using the foil handles to lift the cake out of the pan. Cut into squares for serving (dusting with confectioners’ sugar to finish if desired).

Chocolate Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake for a special birthday

This cake was made for a very special person’s very special day. Today, my beloved brother would have been 48 years old.

IMG_2742Since we live in Texas now, I thought this photo was quite fitting :)

So to celebrate him, and his day, I baked a cake. Not just any cake, though, an incredibly scrumptious chocolate peanut butter cake. Right about now, you might be saying to yourself, “Hey Megan, wait a minute….isn’t chocolate and peanut butter YOUR favorite flavor combination?”

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Why yes, yes it is. I thought long and hard about what to make for his special day this year, and realized I’ve never made him this type of cake before. I’ve made a triple layer coconut cake, a simple vanilla cake, an almond ice cream cake, and the always popular double decker chocolate cake with chocolate icing. And knowing my brother the way I do, he would want me to continuously branch out and make something different and unique. And while I really would have loved to have pulled out all the stops and made this cake, I restrained myself since I’m pretty much the only one in the house eating this.

And for the record, I’m completely ok with that….. taking one for the team isn’t always a bad thing :)

“Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near. Still loved, still missed, and held so dear.”

rpledit

Happy birthday Randy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Earthquake Cake – adapted from I Wash, You Dry

The original instructions call for using a boxed cake mix, but I used our favorite cake batter recipe instead.

  • 1 chocolate cake batter, prepared but not baked
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare chocolate cake mix and pour into a lightly greased 9×13 cake pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract, beat till smooth. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time to bowl, and beat until fully incorporated and mixture becomes light and fluffy.

Distribute spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture onto the chocolate cake batter. Sprinkle with the chocolate chips. Bake for 35-40 minutes, the center should still wiggle when you shake the pan. Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving warm.

Crockpot Molten Lava Cake

What’s better than a cozy, warm bowlful of chocolate cake with a built-in chocolate sauce?

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Easy. Making the aforementioned, incredibly delicious cake in the slow cooker. This was so easy to make, and so, so good. I’ve made a variation of this recipe several times before in the oven, but since oven space is prime real estate in this house, I seized a golden opportunity to utilize one of my crockpots.

Incidentally, Bed Bath and Beyond is having a blowout sale on Calphalon digital crockpots – they’re half price until the end of the week…… 

Anyway, the bowl you see above is all that’s leftover from last night. I’m wondering who is going to get to it first tonight – Sabrina, Alexander, or J.

Maybe I should do the honorable thing and eat it, then claim the dog got to it. 

A small sacrifice for peace and harmony, I know.

Crockpot Molten Lava Cake – adapted from Little Mom on the Prairie

Cake 
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups All-purpose flour
6 tbs.. unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
4 tbs. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.

Molten Lava Sauce:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups boiling water

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a large bowl. Stir in milk, melted butter and vanilla until combined. Spread the batter evenly over the bottom of the crock.
 Mix together the brown sugar and cocoa. Sprinkle mixture over the cake batter. Slowly pour the boiling water over the mixture, and do not stir. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the center is still wiggly.  Spoon into bowls and serve as is or with a scoop of ice cream.

Crumb Cake

5 days into the New Year, and I’m ahead of the game. Ahead of my well-documented streak of blowing up appliances, that it.

Confession time: I’ve already broken the deep fryer.

“Broken” isn’t the correct term, truth be told. The fryer had an unfortunate run-in with the rainstorm we had the other night, which of course short circuited the electrical components. Why was the deep fryer exposed to the elements, you might ask? After making fish and chips for New Years Eve dinner (and breaking my cardinal rule of NEVER frying fish in the house), I set the fryer outside on the patio so the oil could cool down before I threw it away.

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Then Mother Nature hit, and well, the fryer will never be the same.

The end.

Crumb Cake – adapted from Sugar Rush via Taste and Tell

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5½ tbs. (1/3 cup) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • ¼ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • 1 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
Topping:
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tbs. ground cinnamon
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Place the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 9×13-inch glass baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and sour cream and mix until combined.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the milk and the vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour and the baking powder. Turn the mixer on low speed and alternately add the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients, starting and finishing with the dry ingredients, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl several times. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon until completely combined. Add in the melted butter and stir until the mixture is completely moistened. Scatter the topping over the top of the batter in the pan, leaving large and small clumps of crumb mixture.

Bake for about 22 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch and it springs back lightly when pressed. Remove the cake from the oven and lightly dust with powdered sugar. Allow the cake to cool completely. Once the cake is cool, dust generously with powdered sugar, slice and serve.

Pumpkin Spice Cake

So the posse leave tomorrow, and I’m a mix of emotions right now.

On one side, I’m a little bit relieved because I.need.a.break.

On the other side, I’m going to miss the little buggers.

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However, instead of being concerned about what to pack, or what time we should leave in the morning for the airport, the most pressing issue on their minds right now is what am I going to do without them for 9 days?!

The possibilities are endless…….. 

Pumpkin Spice Cake – adapted from Taste of Home

  • 1 3/4  cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2  tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 – 15 ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
  • Confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, combine sugar and oil until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; add to egg mixture alternately with pumpkin, beating well after each addition.

Transfer to a heavily greased 10-in. Bundt pan. Bake 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack. Remove pan and cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar or cream cheese icing. Yield: 12-16 servings.