Saturday, August 25, 2012

Week 34: Grandma's Chocolate Cake

I made this week's cake for our church's annual summer gathering.  A dear couple in our church prepares fried fish, chicken, hushpuppies, corn on the cob... in other words a delicious feast and several people prepare desserts.  This year most of the desserts were chocolate.  I was reading through some old Southern Living cookbooks and came across Grandma's Chocolate Cake.  It is similar to the Texas Sheet Cake; but after the cake is baked you top it with miniature peppermint patties and put it back in the oven for two minutes for the patties to melt so that you can spread the chocolate minty goodness all over the cake.  Then you top all with chocolate icing.  This is truly a delicious and easy cake.

Grandma's Chocolate Cake
Source: Southern Living

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) package miniature chocolate-covered peppermint patties, unwrapped
Chocolate Icing

Combine first 4 ingredients, and set aside.
Combine butter and water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.
Remove from heat; stir in baking soda.  Add flour/sugar mixture, stirring well.  Set aside to cool a bit.
Stir in eggs, buttermilk and vanilla extract.
Spoon batter into a greased and floured 13x9x2-inch pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Top with candy; bake 2 additional minutes.  Gently spread
melted candy over warm cake.  Spread chocolate icing over top.

Chocolate Icing

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, sifted
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine butter and milk in a large saucepan.  Bring mixture to a boil, and remove from heat.
Combine powdered sugar and cocoa; add to butter mixture.  Add vanilla, stirring until smooth.
Yield: 2 cups

Happy Baking!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Week 33: Orange Pound Cake

Greetings dear readers!  We have had so much happen in our home and family this week. 
Last Sunday we took our daughter, Bethany, back to college and got her all settled into her dorm.  She is part of the Orientation team who helps the new students move into their dorms so she had to be on campus early for training and preparation.

Bethany's 22nd birthday was on Wednesday.  Before we left to return home we stopped into a grocery store and ordered a birthday cake.  Her sweet friends picked it up Tuesday night and they surprised her on Wednesday with a party.

David and I celebrated our 27th anniversary yesterday.  We ate at a new restaurant and spent time reflecting on this past year and enjoyed time together. The Lord truly blessed me with a wonderful husband.

The cake for this week is Orange Pound Cake.  I found the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks... Barefoot Contessa Family Style, written by Ina Garten.   The batter tasted like an orange dreamsicle according to my guys.

Orange Pound Cake

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To glaze one loaf (optional):

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice


Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
Cream the butter and 2 cups of the granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the orange zest.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the orange 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.
While the cakes bake, cook the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack set over a tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to cool completely.
To glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Pour over the top of one cake and allow the glaze to dry. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator.

Happy Baking!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Week 32: Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

If you want to make instant friends just walk into a yarn shop.  That is what Bethany and I did a year and a half ago when we walked into a shop called Knitting Friends.  That first night we met Pam, the shop owner, and her sister-in-law Shirley.  They invited us to their Thursday night Sit and Knit  and we were excited to attend.  At that time all we knew how to do was knit scarves. Little did we know how much we would learn in a year and a half.  Bethany has learned how to knit beautiful cowls and I have been crocheting up a storm ever since learning.
The yarn is beautiful and the atmosphere cozy; but the sweetest thing has been new friendships formed with ladies I would have never met.  If we ever move, and I pray we don't, the first thing I will look for is the local yarn shop.
One sweet friend I have gotten to know is Michelle.  She can knit, crochet and tat beautifully.  She even spins and dyes her own yarn.  I love to see her lovely creations.  Today is her birthday, so of course I made her a cake.  She enjoys chocolate so I tried a new recipe - Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Cheesecake.  I baked it last night, let it chill in the refrigerator overnight and then wrapped it up pretty to take to Knitting Friends to celebrate with sweet friends and my darling daughter, Bethany.


The roses are from two bushes that David bought me this summer.  They smell heavenly.

All wrapped up and ready to travel.

Pam, Michelle and me!


 Michelle and her cake in front of the WONDERFUL Debbie Bliss baby cashmere yarn (so soft!).

Michelle, making a wish before we sing to her.  I wonder if she is wishing for more yarn? : )

Happy Birthday Michelle, keep spreading sunshine wherever you go!  I thank the Lord for you and the lovely ladies at Knitting Friends!

Chocolate - Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

3 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup finely crushed chocolate wafer cookies
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

 4 eight oz blocks of cream cheese (don't use low fat)
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (6 ounces) miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
fresh raspberries & chocolate curls for garnish, if desired


1. Prepare crust: Heat butter in a saucepan until melted. Remove from heat and stir in cookie crumbs and sugar. Pat the crumb mixture over the bottom of an oiled 9-inch springform pan. Freeze in the freezer.
2. Preheat oven to 275°F.
3. Prepare cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Add the eggs 2 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the chocolate chips and melted chocolate.
4. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the frozen crust. Sprinkle a few extra chocolate chips on top. Tap the pan on the countertop to break any large air bubbles. Wrap the bottom and side of the pan with heavy-duty foil.
5. Place the springform pan in a larger baking pan and fill the baking pan with enough water to measure 2 inches. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or just until the center is almost set. Remove the foil and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for 45 minutes.
6. Chill, covered, for 5 hours or longer.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Week 31: Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake

Today is such a special day! Our daughter, Bethany, is coming home!  She left June 3rd to serve on Worldview Academy Leadership Camp's west coast, college staff team.  Bethany had a wonderful summer but is coming home very tired and HUNGRY!   She called a few minutes ago asking me to make her a plate of food.

In honor of her being our precious girl I baked a pink cake this week.  Paula Deen's Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake to be exact. This cake begins with a white cake mix; but after you add all of the other ingredients it doesn't taste like a mix at all.  Just ask my husband!  He does not usually like cakes made with mixes; but he loves this one!

Simply Delicious Strawberry Cake
Source: Paula Deen


  • 1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix
  • 1 (3-ounce) box strawberry-flavored instant gelatin
  • 1 (15-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
 Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed and pureed
  • 1/2 teaspoon strawberry extract
  • 7 cups confectioners' sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 (9-inch) round cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix and gelatin. Add pureed strawberries, eggs, oil, and water; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.
For the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in 1/4 cup of the strawberry puree and the strawberry extract. (The rest of the puree is leftover but can be used in smoothies or on ice cream for a delicious treat.) Gradually add confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth.
Spread frosting in between layers and on top and sides of cake. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.

Happy Baking!