Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Believe it or not, this is the very first time I’ve made this cake combination. To be honest, I don’t even remember the last time I made a vanilla cake. But I wanted to go back to the basics this week!

Vanilla Cake

Ingredients

1 box vanilla cake mix

1 box vanilla pudding

3 tbsps AP flour

3 tbsps sugar

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup water

Directions

Mix dry ingredients until well combined. Add wet ingredients and mix together completely. Split batter between 2 greased 8” cake pans and bake at 325F for 35 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

2.5 sticks of unsalted butter, room temp

5 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cups cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Beat butter on electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. With mixer on the lowest speed, add powdered sugar by 1/2 cup at a time. Add cocoa powder and mix until smooth and well combined. Mix in salt and vanilla extract. Add water until you reach the desired consistency. Frost cake once it is completely cooled.


Hope you enjoy!

xoxo,

Katie

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Red, White, and Blue Trifle

Happy day after the 4th of July! If you’re like us, you’re enjoying a low-key day at home recovering from the weekend festivities.

However, this weekend, I made this beautiful patriotic trifle for dinner at a friend’s house. Honestly, it was the perfect 4th of July (or 5th of July) treat. Honestly, you could bring this to any gathering and it would be a show stopper. It is light, fruity, creamy, pretty, and easy!

I started with this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, but I edited it a bit so I’m going to spell out my steps below.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temp – I recommend pulling out your cream cheese a couple hours before you plan to assemble your trifle
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 lb of pound cake, cubed – I decided to opt out of making this myself and bought a 3 pack of small pound cake loaves from Costco. I only used 1 of the loaves here, if that gives you an idea of how much you’ll need.
  • ~11 oz blueberries – I opted for extra blueberries instead of blackberries
  • 1 container of strawberries (1 lb) – I actually bought a large pack of strawberries and I was glad I had extras.

Instructions

  • I started the night before by prepping my fruits and pound cake. – I washed all the blueberries and washed/ cut all the strawberries. Then, I cut each pound cake slice into 3rd’s, each way – which resulted in small 1 in. cubes. This made assembly easier the next day.
  • ~ 2-3 hr before, set out your cream cheese on the counter. For me, I have to put mine on top of the fridge to keep a furry friend from enjoying/ stealing it 🙂
  • When you are ready to assemble, mix the block of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in your standing mixer with the paddle attachment on medium/ high. Mix until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  • With the mixer on low/ medium, slowly add the 1 1/2 cups of heavy whipping cream. Then switch to the whisk attachment and mix on medium/ high until soft peaks begin to form. You want the cream to not be runny and be able to stand on its own.
  • Now you are ready to assemble! It doesn’t really matter “how” you do this, just be aware of the edges looking good (if you are using a glass trifle dish). I started with a layer of pound cake, then a layer of blueberries, then a layer of whipped cream, then a layer of strawberries. You should then only have room for 1 more layer of pound cake, a layer of blueberries, then a layer of whipped cream. Then just decorate the top with whatever you have left.
  • You’re done! This needs to stay in the fridge until serving.

Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Peach Butter

Peach Butter

Baking in the summer and fall just feels different to me. It is something I look forward to most about each season. I love incorporating seasonal flavors, so naturally I was inclined to use peaches! I came across a recipe for Peach Butter and I knew I had to try it. Imagine this as Apple Butter’s summertime counterpart.

Ingredients

20-24 peaches, peeled and pitted (roughly 8 cups of purée)

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon allspice

Directions

Place pitted and peeled peaches into a food processor or blender, and blend until you have a purée. Pour purée into a large pot and add both sugars. Heat to boil on medium high heat and boil until the purée has thickened and reduced by 1/3. Continuously stir while purée is cooking to avoid scorching. Note: my butter never really reduced, but it did thicken. I cooked it for just over 20 minutes. All extra cooking time will do is thicken your butter, so don’t worry if yours does not reduce very well either.

After the peach butter has thickened, remove the pot from the heat, add spices, and mix until combined. Spoon butter into prepared jars until 1/4 inch from the top. Wipe mouths of jars clean and place lids on. If you want your Peach Butter to be shelf stable, you must process the jars in a water bath. Otherwise, keep jars in refrigerator.

I made roughly 4 pints with 20 peaches and just less than 8 cups of purée.


Ways to enjoy your Peach Butter:

– For breakfast slathered on a warm buttermilk biscuit…

– Mixed into some vanilla ice cream….

– As a glaze on pork chops or salmon…

The options are endless! Hope you enjoy this sweet taste of summertime.

xoxo,

Katie

Oreo Pie

Oreo Pie

Happy Sunday! I just love summer weekends. For us, this weekend was full of hanging out with friends and attending our first live sporting event in months! Now, I’m cuddling on the couch with my pup – life is good.

We were planning to host some friends at our house on Saturday night, so I was looking for a quick and yummy dessert that tasted like home. As you all know, my husband loves chocolate. This weekend though, I got a hankering for Oreos – so what better than Oreo pie?

I started with this recipe, but honestly I didn’t love it. I should’ve known better since I usually don’t like recipes that contain Cool Whip. Homemade whipped cream is just so easy to make, so why settle for less? Anyways… I’m going to share some of what I wished I had done in the recipe below…

Here is what you’ll need…

For the crust:

  • ~24 Oreo Cookies (I bought a family-sized package of Oreos and it worked perfectly for what you need for this recipe all together)
  • 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened at room temp)
  • 3/4 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • ~10 Oreo Cookies (Honestly, I would just add whatever you have left from the crust in)

Here’s what you’ll need to do…

For the crust:

  • Preheat your oven to 350 (I didn’t pre-bake the pie crust, but I wished I did)
  • Mix the ~24 Oreos in a food processor – I just used a rolling pin, but I think it turns out better the finer you can get the crumbs.
  • Stir the Oreo crumbs with the 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • Firmly press the butter and crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a standard pie dish
  • Bake for ~10 minutes

For the filling:

  • Whip the 1 cup of heavy whipping cream on medium/ high until stiff peaks form – you can use the paddle attachment or whisk attachment on your standing mixer
  • Set aside – then whip the block of cream cheese and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar together on medium/ high until they are smooth
  • Fold in the whipped cream and 1 tablespoon of vanilla into the cream cheese (either by hand or in the mixer) until smooth – go easy!
  • Crush the remaining Oreo cookies and fold in to the mixture – go easy here too!
  • Pour the filling into the pie crust and then let sit in the fridge overnight for best results

This one is definitely a crowd-pleaser! I mean, who doesn’t like Oreos? It is also really easy and only requires a few ingredients too, which makes it perfect for company. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Happy Baking!

Rookie Rating: 5/5

xoxo,
Morgan

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

My dad requested Chocolate Cream Pie for Father’s Day. I usually don’t like to make things for the first time for someone else. I need a trial run. Especially pies that have to set right!!!! But I didn’t want to try this one first and then end up with two pies, so I just decided to go for it.

I used this recipe to start from and I listed my notes below!

Recipe Notes:

– I used store bought pie crust and saved my egg whites to brush the crust so it wouldn’t get soggy!

– I used half milk chocolate baking chips instead of all dark chocolate.

– My pudding was thickened almost completely after the 2 minute cook time. Be careful you don’t microwave it too long!

– I made my whipped cream “weep proof” by taking a tablespoon of plain gelatin, dissolving it in a tablespoon of water and microwaving it to smooth it out, and mixing it into the whipped cream. This should ensure the cream does not begin to run after a day or so.

Otherwise, I followed the recipe exactly and my pie set beautifully! This is definitely a good Chocolate Cream Pie recipe to start off with of you haven’t made one before like me.

Happy baking!

xoxo,

Katie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bread

Hi friends – Happy Sunday! The “Sunday scaries” are real tonight as I start to shift my mind to work tomorrow after being at the beach all week. It was such a great week of family, games, and rest, which makes it hard to go back to reality.

However, as with all good vacations, Dylan and I felt the need to diet afterwards. We made a really yummy dinner of veggies, salmon, and pineapple on the grill tonight. But! Just because dinner is healthy, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get dessert too 🙂

Dylan had requested a chocolate chip “pizookie”, but I wanted to take it one step further. I found this recipe from my friend Sally (maybe one day we will be actual friends!) and it did NOT disappoint. This bread is easy, contains a lot of ingredients you probably already have, AND tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie in cake form. In fact, I even got a “good job honey” from my husband after he ate his second slice. I’m telling you, this is a winner.

Since I followed the recipe to a “t”, I’m not going to write it out, but instead give you a few pointers…

  • She calls for the eggs, butter, and sour cream at room temp; however, I felt a bit weird about leaving the sour cream out. Also, I didn’t feel bad about the sour cream being cold since the milk was going to be cold as well. Leaving the butter out to soften did really help when I creamed it with the sugar though.
  • I decided to not make the chocolate & peanut butter topping and I was glad I held off. The bread is so full of chocolate, you don’t really need anything else.
  • When you get to the part where you add the sour cream, mine definitely looked curdled. She mentions that is normal! My dough all pulled together when I added the dry ingredients and the milk.
  • I ended up baking mine for right at 55 minutes – just be careful when you get close to the one hour mark that you don’t overbake. Mine was perfect – the outside was a little crunchy, but the middle was gooey and moist.
  • The only things I didn’t have in my kitchen were mini chocolate chips and whole milk – honestly, I thought they were both worth the trip to the grocery store and helped the bread turn out so well.

I really don’t think you can mess this one up if you follow the recipe! It is so yummy and easy. Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

My husband and I celebrated our wedding anniversary by grabbing dinner at the place that catered our wedding. My husband has always raved about their banana pudding, but I had never tried it, and to be honest, I wasn’t dying to try it either because I’m not too crazy about banana pudding. One bite in and my mind was completely changed. This banana pudding was so. good!!!!! So good, in fact, that I was inspired to make banana pudding at home!

Ingredients

1 8 oz block of cream cheese, at room temperature

1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

1 5 oz package of instant vanilla pudding

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup water

2 tsp vanilla extract

5 bananas, sliced

1 box of vanilla wafers

Cool whip, thawed (optional)

Directions

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until soft. Add sweetened condensed milk, cream, water, pudding package, and vanilla extract and beat until well combined.

In a trifle dish, a 9 x 13” casserole dish, or any regular ole glass bowl you have, assemble the pudding. Layer vanilla wafers in the bottom of the dish. Add a layer of bananas on top of the wafers. Next, spoon 1/3 of the pudding into your dish, ensuring all bananas are covered. Repeat until you have 3 layers. If desired, garnish top with additional banana slices, wafers, and cool whip. Let pudding cool for 1 hour or so to thicken up.

Note: depending on the size of your dish, you make to double up on wafers and banana slices so the layers are thicker.


Hope you love it!

xoxo,

Katie

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes

Y’all. These cupcakes turned out so good. I made an orange creamsicle cake last year and it just wasn’t orangey enough. This year I decided to just bite the bullet and invest in orange extract. I’m glad I did- these cupcakes have the perfect flavor!

Ingredients

Cake

1 white box cake

1 3 oz package of orange jello

4 eggs

3/4 cup orange juice

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp orange extract

Frosting

1 8 oz package of cream cheese

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butterm

5 cups powdered sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp heavy cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 tsp orange extract

Directions

Whisk together cake mix and jello. Whisk in eggs one at a time until completely combined. Mix in juice, oil, and extract. Prepare 2 12-cup muffin tins and preheat oven to 325F. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 14 minutes or until cupcakes are cooked. Beware, these will burn quickly!

To prepare frosting, mix room temperature cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes. 1 cup at a time, mix in powdered sugar until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you desire a different consistency. Add salt, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and continue mixing until smooth. Separate half of the frosting into a new bowl. To the electric mixing bowl, add the orange extract and mix thoroughly. Add some drops of yellow and red food coloring to distinguish the orange flavored frosting from the cream cheese frosting. To swirl the frosting, lay plastic wrap on the counter. Spoon a strip of each frosting side by side, then roll the plastic wrap up. Place the log of frosting into a piping bag and pip frosting onto cupcakes as normal.


Happy baking!

xoxo,

Katie

Homemade New York-Style Cheesecake

Homemade New York-Style Cheesecake

Hi friends! Happy Memorial Day. What a precious day of reflection on all those who have given their lives for our country and our freedom. I hope you all spent it with loved ones!

Between visiting family, overhauling my flower beds, and work travel, I’ve been slacking on the blog game! I am back in business now though. Today, I want to share with you a recipe I made for my mom’s birthday. Every year for her birthday, I decide to tackle a cheesecake (since I know it is one of her favorites). Last year, she was on the keto diet, so I made a keto-friendly cheesecake that actually turned out really well (see that recipe here)! However, this year I was upping the ante. I decided to take on a more complex homemade baked New York-style cheesecake recipe with 1 goal: no cracks in the cheesecake.

I started with this recipe after doing a good bit of reading about water baths, over-mixing, and room temp ingredients. Since I stayed pretty tight to the original recipe, I won’t type it out here but will share some of my notes…

  • When she says you NEED 18in wide aluminum foil and a springform pan – trust her! I don’t know how I would’ve done this without them. The 18in aluminum foil gave me peace of mind in ensuring my water bath didn’t leak into the cheesecake. I thought this variation of aluminum foil would be hard to find in a store, but I easily found it in my local grocery store. You can also purchase springform pans like this one for pretty reasonable if you don’t have one.
  • It’s essential that your ingredients are at room temp – it’s worth the extra time to ensure this step. You’ll be glad I mentioned this when your batter isn’t lumpy 🙂
  • My cheesecake ended up having a somewhat strong lemon flavor due to the juice and zest you put in. I will probably go a bit easy on this the next time. You want enough to give it that “zing” but not enough so it’s lemon cheesecake. I’ll probably half the lemon ingredients next time.
  • When you boil water to go in your roasting pan, make sure you boil a whole kettle’s worth. You’ll need more than you think poured around the pan. For the roasting pan, I had one I used to cook a turkey in and it was perfect. Here’s a similar one, if you are in the market. I think you could use a big disposable aluminum pan as well if you don’t want to buy this. Just make sure it’s wider than your springform pan.
  • My biggest regret is that I wish I had baked my cheesecake longer. I think mine needed a good 1 hr 45 to 2 hours. I ended up baking it for 1 hour and 45 minutes and the very middle was still “liquidy”. Ultimately you don’t want it too shiny in the middle. Once you get to that 1 hour and 45 min mark, keep an eye on the look of the top – you’ll notice a difference in the edges. Wait patiently until the middle gets that way too.
  • As far as preventing cracks… The picture on this post is what mine looked like right out of the oven, no cracks!! But… The recipe tells you to run a knife along the edges (this was great) and then cover with plastic wrap. DON’T COVER WITH PLASTIC WRAP. I was devastated when I started to put the plastic wrap on and it stuck to the cheesecake. When I pulled it back, it ripped the top, and there I was with a big ‘ole crack after all. I really think if I would’ve just put it straight in the fridge to cool without anything on top, it would’ve been perfect. Oh well, you live and you learn.

That’s it! This recipe was more advanced than our usual recipes on the blog, but it was a really fun “project” to make. If you are looking for something a bit adventurous, look no further. For this reason though, I’m ranking this a 2 out of 5 for our rookie ratings.

That being said, you’ll have to let me know if you try this one! Happy baking!

xoxo,
Morgan

Root Beer Float Popsicles

Root Beer Float Popsicles

I bought a popsicle mold last week on a whim and I’m already thinking up all the different flavors I want to try! This week was Root Beer float- which surprisingly I’m not a huge fan of in the first place (don’t get me wrong though I’ve never turned down ice cream in my life). I’m glad I tried this flavor because it was super fun and turned out really yummy!

Ingredients

Vanilla Ice Cream

Flat Root Beer

Directions

*my popsicle mold made 10 popsicles, so my measurements are based on that*

Let 1 cup of vanilla ice cream melt (just sit it on the counter, do not melt it in the microwave). Pour 1 tbsp of melted ice cream into the bottom of each mold and let it freeze for an hour or so. Mix 2 cups of flat root beer with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of melted ice cream. Fill each mold to the top with the root beer mixture. Let the popsicles freeze overnight. To remove the popsicles from the mold, let them sit out for a couple minutes and gently loosen.


Hope you enjoy all summer long! Let me know if you have any other popsicle flavor ideas!

xoxo,

Katie