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Cakes

Black Forest Cake

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Perhaps I may have given off the impression that I hated making desserts that needed baking. That’s not what I was aiming for at all. In all honestly, I do prefer no-bake sweets and desserts better. If I did go through the trouble of baking some desserts, there are really special people I wanted to please that day.

Today is one of those special occasions. I have just finished off the last slice of this delicious cake. There are many variations of this recipe and rarely do I find something worth doing again and again. In fact, this cake is so delectable that I always give them out as birthday cakes to many of my adult friends and family.

Making this will require an assistant because it’s more fun that way. Gather up your kids when you’re in the process of whipping up the frosting so that they can lick off the extras on the bowl or spatula. I tell you, baking would be less tedious this way.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 (20 ounce) cans pitted sour cherries
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Description

  1. Prepare the oven and preheat to 350 °F or about 175°C. Next, grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Dust it with flour and cover each of the bottoms with wax paper.
  2. Combine 2 cups of sugar, flour, cocoa and baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Mix these dry ingredients well. Then add all the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, oil and a tablespoon of vanilla and beat until well blended. Pour this batter into the greased pans.
  3. Place them in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Another way to test is to thrust a toothpick in the middle of the cake and take it out. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. Let cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack and then remove from the pan.
  4. Prepare your cherries by draining the syrup and reserving half a cup of this juice. Then in a separate bowl, combine the juice, the cherries, cornstarch and a cup of sugar. Next, pour this over a 2-quart saucepan. Allow to cook over low heat until thickened. Make sure you’re stirring constantly. Then add a teaspoon of vanilla and set aside. Cool this before using.
  5. Take out a hand mixer. In a bowl, combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar with the mixer until you see stiff forms appearing.
  6. It’s time to slice a layer of the cake with a long serrated knife. Be careful in doing this because you can’t break off any of the cake layers. Break apart one sliced layer into crumbs and set aside. Reserve 1 and ½ cups of frosting for decorating the cake and set aside. To assemble the cake, start by laying down a base – a sliced cake at the bottom. Spread frosting and top with cherry sauce. And then add another sliced layer and repeat the frosting and cherry sauce mix. On the last layer, use up all of the remaining frosting in order to include the sides of the cake. Pat on some of the crushed crumbs on the side. Spoon the rest of the cherry sauce in a pastry bag and start decorating the top of the cake as you wish. Be generous about frosting the top and the sides of the cake and finish off with the last of the cherry topping. Best served chilled.

Black Forest Cake 2

My Best Banana Bread

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Banana Bread


Sometimes our kids can be the best sources of information. We were discussing quite a lot on the subject of bananas and how healthy they are. Apparently, my youngest learned it from school and so she naturally told me everything about it. She talked a lot from the ride going to school and then again on the bus home. She caused her sister quite the craving for banana and peanut butter sandwiches.

As I was making them, I suddenly realized that I bought home a bunch of bananas for a reason. My daughter had also subconsciously made me want to eat bananas and all things I can bake using it as the main ingredient. Probably it’s why I chose to bake banana muffins the other day too.

Today, I went ahead and made some banana bread. I was planning to serve this with vanilla ice cream on top but the family normally just enjoys it as is. Whatever the case, I was determined to put the banana discussion to rest by asking my daughter to stop talking about it and give her these as peace offering.

I think the smile on her face told me I was already forgiven the moment I took it out of the oven. It should work the same way for your family. Nothing puts an issue to rest than a hot plate of forgiveness served with a piece of bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas

Description

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F or about 175°C and grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Do it lightly.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Next, take the butter and brown sugar and mix them together on a separate bowl as well.
  3. Add the egg and mashed bananas and mix until well blended. Pour this into the flour mixture just to moisten. When they’re all evenly combined, pour this over into the loaf pan.
  4. Place the loaf pan into the oven and bake for 60 to 65 minutes. Or insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf and if it comes out clean, the bread is ready.
  5. Take it out of the oven and let it cool off for 10 minutes. Then turn this out into a wire rack. Cut them into pieces right before you serve.

Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirls

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Cheesecake with Raspberry Swirls 2

One of the hardest choices I could make in life is to choose which cheesecake variety to eat with my coffee. Don’t laugh but I just find it really hard to select one flavor over the other. My mind tells me to pick one from strawberries to plain and chocolate, even peanut butter. But my heart tells me to wrap them all up and take them home.

I know you’re smiling just about now. Have you had one of those dilemmas? I have those every time and wish I could just make my life a little simpler for myself. Husband says that making my own cheesecake would tell me for sure which ones to become my favorite. I love cheesecakes period. But to choose a topping would mean selecting a variety – all of them are pretty darn good.

I don’t expect everyone to know what that’s like but I followed my husband’s advice and decided to create my version of a raspberry cheesecake with a twist. Instead of just pouring this topping all over the cake, I incorporated it as a swirl. Sounds interesting right? Get ready then, this will be quite a handful to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup finely ground graham crackers
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 6 ounces raspberries
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • Boiling water, for roasting pan

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan and wrap it with foil including the base. Set aside for the meantime.
  2. In a medium-sized bowl, mix cracker crumbs, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Pour this mixture on the pan and press this crumb mixture firmly onto the bottom of it. Take this into the oven and bake until it sets. This takes about 10 minutes. When done, remove from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. Then, reduce the oven temperature to about 325 °F.
  3. Take out your food processor. Process the raspberries until it becomes smooth. That only takes about 30 seconds. Then pour the puree through a fine sieve into a small bowl and throw away the solid particles. Next, whisk in 2 tablespoons of sugar and give a little whisk. Set aside.
  4. Now, attach the paddle into the mixer and pour cream cheese in the bowl. On medium speed, mix until the cream cheese turns fluffy. That takes about 3 minutes. Then reduce the speed to lowest setting, and then add in the remaining 1 and a half cups of sugar. Let it mix on a slow stream. Next, add the salt and vanilla then mix well until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix them well but don’t overdo it. Then, pour in the cream cheese filling over the cooked crust.
  5.  Next, use a teaspoon and drop in the raspberry sauce. With a wooden skewer or a small stick, swirl the sauce into the filling slowly making sure the color doesn’t combine into the white fluffy cream mixture.
  6. Take a large shallow roasting pan and set in the cake pan and slowly transfer them into the oven. Using a ladle to scoop water, carefully pour in the water into the roasting pan until it reaches half way up the sides of the cake pan. Let this bake for 60 to 65 minutes. This should leave the center of the cake wobbly.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer cake pan to a wire rack. Let this cool completely. Place this into the refrigerator uncovered for 6 hours or overnight. Run a knife around the cake and then unmold into a serving place. Slice according to desired cuts. Best served chilled.

Cherry Cheesecake

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I am a big cheesecake fan and quite possibly still a fan of all desserts that don’t require a lot of baking. Just place them in the ice box for an hour and take out whenever the cravings and hunger pangs take over. What’s absolutely fun about these kinds of cakes and pastries is the fact that you can eat them off the bat. Perhaps, that’s just the sweet tooth in me talking but really when I see ready-to-eat and easy-to-prepare desserts, my world stops.

Thankfully, I share this enthusiasm with my family. They do have their mini cravings once in a while and I pretend to love those pastries that came from a box. All I really want to do is take out all the contents of the cupboards and think of what to whip up. I don’t run a restaurant kitchen at home so I don’t have baking ingredients on stock most of the time. But by chance I discovered this recipe and have never let it go since.

This cheesecake recipe is the chicken noodle soup of the dessert category. It makes me feel good making it for the family and it gives me comfort knowing that there’s always a slice waiting for me.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped
  • 1 (12.5 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Description

  1. Take your graham cracker crumbs (crush them up because that’s more fun), sugar and margarine. Then mix them together in a bowl. Make sure all ingredients are incorporated well.
  2. On a pie plate, place the crumbs and press until you make a decent pie crust out of it.
  3. Take another bowl where you can add in the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat these ingredients together until you get a smooth and spreadable mixture.
  4. Next, pour this entire mixture over the pie crust you prepared. Smooth it over with the help of a spatula. Refrigerate this until the pie sets in about 2 -3 hours.
  5. Spread the cherry pie filling over the top and refrigerate just minutes before you serve. Best served chilled.

Chocolate Mocha Cake

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Chocolate Mocha Cake 2
If you’ve been following my posts, I think It’s no secret to you that my family loves chocolate. The kids want it and so do I. But the better half, well, he’s got a craving like no other. And you can easily guess what it is. He craves for a different kind of “chocolate” cake.

Chocolate mocha is his weakness and that’s partly because of me. He never used to have liking for them but something has changed in the past few years. I suspect it has something to do with this cake. He’s not a cake person in general because he prefers ice cream more than any other types of desserts. Somehow, ever since I made this, he’s always wanted to have a piece every once in a while. He looks for it and asks if I got around to making one.

The other day he did muster up some courage to ask me to make it like how I manage to make dozens of cookies for the kids. And when he asks, I oblige (because he seldom requests for food related things). And like all things traditional in this household, I dedicate a space for it in my kitchen wall. This is the recipe I keep for him – the one who claims no dessert will ever make him crave for food.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1 cup hot water

Description

  1. Begin by preheating the oven to 350°F or about 175°C. Grease up two 9-inch cake pans (round).
  2. In a mixing bowl, dump in all the measured dry ingredients: flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, soda and salt. Mix that. Add in the oil, eggs and butter milk. Give that a go in the mixer. Next, dissolve instant coffee in hot water and add to the mixture. Beat this at medium speed for 2 minutes or until batter is smooth. Then, pour this into the prepared pans.
  3. Place inside of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Use the wooden toothpick method to determine if the cake is done. When the toothpick comes out clean, it’s ready to be taken out and cooled off. Turn out into wire racks for 10 minutes to cool completely.
  4. Use Coffee Icing to frost the cake. After frosting, melt semisweet chocolate baking squares or chips in a double broiler. When completely melted, drizzle this on the outside edges making it run down to the sides and over the top of cake. Serve when done.
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