Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Coffee Cake: ABC

This looked too good to pass up.  
cake with a layer of cheesecake and then spiced apples on top....
how could you go wrong?  Well, I managed to go wrong somehow!  The cake was dry, the cheesecake layer was barely there the only good thing 
was the spiced apples on top.  

I think this could be a great recipe...maybe I did 
something wrong....dunno.  But I would love to try it again only 
with a different cake recipe and more of a cheesecake layer.  
The concept is good, my execution perhaps not so good.
I haven't really had much luck with any of the 
recipes from Scientifically Sweet.

My finished product did not even come close to what was pictured from the source...and for recipe see here.  But I have to say it improved the after it sat in the fridge for a day or two.  Hubby liked it...he ate 3 pieces!  

Just meh for me....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chocolate Covered Cheesecake Bites

Here I go again, baking while juicing is not an easy feat, but I enjoy 
baking and even though I know now that it is not the healthiest of hobbies 
I still am obsessed by it and enjoy doing it.  Only now, I don't eat 
any or as much as I did before.  One of these days, 
I will start to learn to bake vegan style....but until then, 
I am going to continue to do what I love.

This time I am baking for work.  We have corporate visits a few times a year and I always bake a little treat for them.  I found these cheesecake bites on my favorite past time... Pinterest.   I know, I know, I really need to get a life! 

These are quick and easy.  It is just cheesecake baked in a 8x8 pan then cut up into little squares and dipped in chocolate.  Easy peasy and you have a great little sweet for any occasion!


adapted from Handle the Heat

Yield: 36 bites

For the crust:

9 whole graham crackers
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the chocolate coating:

16 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons coconut oil

To make crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In a small bowl combine graham cracker crumbs and butter. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until light golden and fragrant. Reduce heat to 325°F.

To make filling:

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. On low speed, add in the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt and beat until just combined. Be careful not to overmix. Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cheesecake is slightly puffed and center is set. If the center is slightly jiggly, that's fine.

Let cool completely on a wire rack. Freeze for 3 hours, or until very cold and firm, or overnight.

To coat in chocolate:

Once frozen, lift cheesecake out of pan and gently peel away foil. Using a sharp knife, cut cheesecake into 36 bite-size squares. If squares become too soft, freeze until chilled again.

Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Place parchment paper or a silicone baking mat on a baking sheet. Dip cheesecake squares, one at a time, in the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off and place on prepared sheet. Repeat for all the squares then refrigerate until the chocolate is set. Serve or store the squares in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Apricot and Almond Olive Oil Cake: ABC

It has been an age since I have baked along with my ABC group.  The Avid Bakers have been baking some wonderful and beautiful goodies without me....like Brown Butter Banana Bread, Tender Loving Crackle Cookies and Hazelnut Rocher Cake
 They all looked so good!

When I saw this cake, I thought that possible I could make a healthier version...so today, I gave it a try.
First I halved the recipe.  It is only my husband and I here and I am on a quest to drop weight and my husband is a diabetic, so as hard as it is...we 
really don't eat many sweets.  So half sounded like a good place to start.
I used almond milk instead of regular milk and stevia instead of sugar.  

 I think I got a fairly good result.  The cake was very moist and had only a hint of sweetness which played very well with the tartness of the apricots.  The almond milk added to the almond flavors in the cake.  I liked 
the crunch of the slivered almonds on top.  
I will give it a thumbs up!


Apricot & Almond Olive Oil Cake
adapted from Scientifically Sweet
Makes one 9-inch cake

¾ cup plus 2 tbsp (175g) sugar (used Stevia)
1 cup (230 ml) milk  ( I used almond milk)
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (100 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups (190 g) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (25g) ground almonds
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda 
¼ tsp salt 
5-6 apricots, cut into quarters
flaked almonds, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Lightly butter and flour a 9x9 inch round springform cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.

Place the sugar, milk, lemon zest and scraped vanilla bean seeds with the pod in a medium saucepan over low heat and bring just barely to a simmer while stirring frequently to dissolve the sugar. Do not let it boil. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 15 minutes to infuse and cool down.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk through ground almonds. Add the olive oil, beaten eggs and cooled milk mixture and whisk gently to form a smooth batter. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and arrange the apricot quarters on top any way you like. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 30–35 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the sides and leaving to cool completely. 

If you are using very small apricots, they may plummet to the bottom of the tin during baking. To avoid this, make a double layer of apricot quarters.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Everyone's Favorite Birthday Cake: Baked Sunday Mornings

It goes to show how much I love to bake...I am 3 days into a 28 day juice cleanse and here it is, my hubby's birthday.  I always make him a carrot cake (his favorite).  But, the baked group is making this cake.  How could I not make it?   I made it through the whole thing...not even a lick from my finger.  I try to look at it as a piece of art or a craft and try to disassociate the fact that it is edible. Well, it seemed to work....this time, anyway.  I have to admit it was hard not to lick the fingers...if I wear gloves it helps alot!  
Such a sad thing to be so addicted to sugar.

 The cake is a sour cream cake and it smelled heavenly when it
was baking...it looked like it was moist...  
My hubby said it was.  
The frosting is a chocolate cream cheese frosting...
what is not to like about that!
I halved the recipe, as I usually do.  It made a cute little six inch cake.

 My husband like the cake.  He said the frosting was very rich.  
I think he missed his carrot cake.  
I did a frosting technique that I have been wanting to try for some time now....
I need more practice...LOL!
It certainly looked delicious.  I am putting a piece in the freezer so I can
give it a try at a later date!

Happy Birthday Don!

Recipe here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Gonzo Cake: Baked Sunday Mornings

It has been an age since I have baked 
along with my Baked Sunday Mornings friends...but I just 
couldn't resist giving this purple velvet cake a go.  
Well maybe a dull greyish kinda purple...lol!  
I guess I needed 
a little more food coloring. 

I halved the recipe and made a cute little cake and the lavender is so lovely out in my garden that I decided to put a few sprigs on top...I know it is a little deceiving because there is no lavender flavor in the cake, but pretty, right?

This cake has purple yam powder in it....yes, you read it right...purple yam powder.  I got mine from Amazon, although I probably could have found it at Jungle Jim's...but that is on the other side of God's country...so I opted to order it...and it came just in time!

I think my cake turned out a bit dense, but it still had a nice flavor...not sickeningly sweet and the cream cheese frosting complimented it nicely.

It was nice to once again bake along with the BSM group!  Missed you guys!

Next up is Everyone's Favorite Birthday Cake...that falls right on my husbands birthday, so I will probably be baking along with that one!!!
Til then

Recipe posted here

Friday, July 17, 2015

Yes I CANnoli Cake!

This Italian girl loves a good cannoli!  
This Italian girl can make a pretty mean cannoli. 
 And now this Italian girl made a nice Cannoli Cake!

Another birthday is upon us...it is my step son's Alex's birthday and his girl is having a suprise party for him.  She asked me to make the cake.  Well, I knew that Alex loved it when I made my yearly cannolis for our end of summer bash.  One year I wasn't going to make them and he asked me to make them if he went and got the cannoli shells...he had to go drive an hour away to get them.  What can I say, I think he likes them.  He also loves chocolate soooo a Chocolate Cannoli Cake it was!

I discovered that making your own ricotta cheese is very easy and economical as well!  Not to mention it tastes a whole lot better...the store bought stuff does not even compare!  I used lemon juice instead of vinegar for this filling.
Here is a great tutorial!


I made a chocolate layer cake 2 layers in a 9 inch pans and cut those in half.
I used this recipe for the cake. It is easy and delicious!  You will have extra batter left over...always good to make some cupcakes!

While the cannoli cream was chilling I made the buttercream frosting.
It didn't make a whole lot but it was the perfect amount for what I needed.  I crumb coated the cake before frosting it and let it sit in the fridge for an hour. The frosting was gorgeous!!  I frosted the top and very sparingly frosted the sides and pressed chocolate chips into it.  I put the rest of the frosting in a piping bag and piped a nice decoration on the top and bottom edge.

Rich chocolate cake layers filled will creamy cannoli cream then frosted with a luscious cream cheese buttercream.
A beautiful and hopefully tasty cake for someone special in my life!
Happy Birthday Alex!

Until next time...
The Best Cannoli Cake
Adapted from: A Beautiful Bite
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
I did not make the cannoli for this cake, because of time restraints...but I do think that they would be an awesome addition.  Although if I would have done it I would not have done so many of them piled on top....maybe 10-12 of them...one for each serving.
  • 2 9" Chocolate cake layers split in half 
  • 36 Mini cannoli shells ( did not use these)
  • 1 cup Chocolate morsels if you'd like to dip your cannoli ends
For the Cannoli Filling:
  • 32 oz Ricotta cheese, drained overnight (see notes) (Made my own...I used a gallon of milk and drained it overnight)
  • 1 cup Confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 6 oz Mini chocolate morsels
  • (I put a little 1/2 t vanilla and 1/2 t almond extract in mine)
For the Buttercream Frosting
  • 3 cups Confectioners sugar
  • 1 cup softened butter ( I used 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup cream cheese)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 cups Mini chocolate morsels for coating exterior of cake
  1. Prepare ricotta the night prior to assembling the cake. Place ricotta in a cheesecloth lined strainer and pull cheesecloth over ricotta to make a sack. Secure the ends and place a small plate overtop the sack and top with a heavy can. (I used a 28oz can of tomatoes) Place in fridge and allow the excess water to drain off overnight. This is a CRUCIAL step.
  2. If dunking cannoli shells in chocolate, heat morsels over medium heat in a double boiler until melted and smooth. Dunk cannoli ends in chocolate, shake excess off and place on parchment paper to harden. You can speed this up by placing the cannolis in the fridge.
  3. For the filling, mix together the drained ricotta and both sugars. Using a stand or hand mixer, beat cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the cream into the cheese/sugar mixture. Gently mix in the chocolate morsels. Place in fridge while you make the buttercream frosting.
  4. For the buttercream, using a hand or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until smooth. Add vanilla extract and cream. Beat until fluffy. If too stiff, add a little more cream.
  5. For assembly:
  6. Place one halved cake layer on a cake plate. Smooth about one cup of filling overtop. Place another cake layer on top of filling and repeat until all layers are in place. Set aside remaining filling to use for mini cannolis.
  7. Scrape any filling that has oozed off the sides of the cake. Place in fridge for at least two hours.
  8. After it sets for two hours, frost the tops and sides of the cake. Press chocolate morsels around the exterior of the cake to coat.
  9. Using a piping bag, fill cannolis with leftover filling. Place filled cannolis on top of the cake in a large pile.
  10. Enjoy!
Please be sure to read my instructions on draining the ricotta. It will make or break this cake. You must drain it overnight. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing

Loving all these beautiful salads!  Here is another winner!  Packed with goodness and flavor!  Assembles in less than 30 minutes.  I forgot to add the orange segments but I did add some grape tomatoes.  I think the oranges would have been very tasty...mad I forgot!!  Next time!
The dressing is the bomb! 
Be healthy!

adapted from Minimalist Baker

Prep time
15 mins
Cook time
15 mins
Total time
30 mins

Serves: 2-3


5-6 cups Mixed Greens
1 cup cooked quinoa (red or white)*
1/2 cup fresh or canned corn
1 cup cooked black beans (seasoned with equal pinches sea salt, cumin, chili + garlic powder)
1/4 cup red onion, diced
1 orange, segmented (I forgot the orange segments! geesh!)
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped or torn

1/2 ripe avocado
1 large lime, juiced (~4 Tbsp)
3 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 tsp sweetener of choice (maple syrup, agave, cane sugar, etc.)
1-2 tsp hot sauce
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/8 tsp chili powder (or sub extra hot sauce or chipotle powder)
Healthy pinch each sea salt and black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh minced cilantro (optional)
3-4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil ( I only used 1 tbsp oil)

Begin preparing quinoa first by thoroughly rinsing 1/2 cup quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then bringing to a boil with 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare salad ingredients by chopping vegetables, segmenting orange, and warming black beans and seasoning with salt, cumin, chili and garlic powder.
Prepare dressing by adding all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blending until creamy and smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more hot sauce, orange juice and salt.