I Am Baker

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

This is such a classic and great tasting dessert, I am ashamed I never shared it on my blog until now!

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe!

The recipe I am sharing is a “copykat” recipe, in that it is reminiscent of the Cheesecake Factory’s® scrumptious Pumpkin Cheesecake. While I love eating it there, making it at home has it’s benefits too.

Like being able to drizzle all the caramel you want over your piece.

There is something quite magical about caramel and pumpkin!

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe!

I seriously could not wait to try a piece. It was my first piece of Pumpkin Cheesecake for the season, and I hope it’s not the last.  My goodness cheesecake is amazing.  As much as the famous New York style is a staple, from October to January this becomes my new favorite.

Especially since you can make so many changes!  Switch out the crust for a shortbread or chocolate (like I have done here), cover in cinnamon whipped cream or caramel buttercream, you could even add a layer of caramel or chocolate ganache on top.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces Pre-Made Chocolate Pie Crust, about 2 - 2 1/4 cups
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (16 ounce can)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • whipped cream
  • caramel sauce

Instructions

  1. Make the crust by combining the pre-made chocolate cracker crumbs with the melted butter in a medium bowl.
  2. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan. (I spray with bakers spray then place a piece of parchment at bottom)
  3. Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the springform pan.
  4. In a stand mixer combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
  5. Add the pumpkin, eggs, pumpkin pie spice and continue beating until smooth and creamy. (about 2 minutes)
  6. Pour the filling into the pan.
  7. Bake for 60-70 minutes at 350 degrees.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool.
  9. When the cheesecake has come to room temperature, put it into the refrigerator.
  10. When ready to serve the chilled cheesecake, add whipped cream to the top.
  11. Drizzle with caramel sauce .
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Recipe heavily adapted from food.com.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know I like to use Oreo® crusts in a lot of things.  For this particular recipe, I thought the Oreo® flavoring was a bit too dominant, so I opted for simple chocolate crust.

My favorite way to swap out flavors is to buy pre-made pie crusts. (they are often less expensive then graham crackers!)

Pre Made Chocolate Pie Crust

I used two 6-ounce packages and added the melted butter.  When I use these I do not bake the crust before assembling.

If you do not have access to these or would prefer to make your own crust, you will want about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs, 5-6 tablespoons of melted butter, then 1 tablespoon of sugar if it’s graham cracker.  Press into pan then bake for 5 minutes before filling.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe with Chocolate Crust!

TIP: When making cheesecake (any flavor) I highly recommend using room temperature ingredients.  Also, do not be afraid to really whip that cream cheese!  You want it to be smooth and creamy with no lumps.

I used my favorite Ateco pastry tip to pipe out simple dollops of whipped cream.  Then drizzled all that wonderful caramel.  Don’t leave that step out, it makes the cheesecake outstanding.

Especially if the cheesecake is chilled and the caramel is warm… now that’s magic.

Cheesecake Factory Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe with Chocolate Crust!

You can prepare the cheesecake a couple days ahead of time.  I am making another one today for a party I have tomorrow, and really hoping and praying I can resist eating a piece before the event actually beings.

Wish me luck!

Be sure to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

I Am Baker

caramel cake with apple cider whipped cream

This cake.

It’s… well.   It’s one of the best tasting cakes I have ever had the privilege of making.

Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting and Apple Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

But here is the thing… I am going to share TWO recipes for this cake.  The reason being is that when I made it from scratch I used Rose’s Caramel Cake.  I made it and loved it.  Then I made it again and tried to tweak the recipe, but to no avail.  Every change I made did not help, and more likely it took away from an already perfect recipe.

This was especially true about the caramel icing.  There was absolutely zero changes I could make to improve upon the texture, flavor and consistency of that sauce.  It’s down right amazing.

The Apple Whipped Cream I got from Rachel Ray was also hard to improve upon.  (I did add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, but that is totally an optional step!)

That is the from-scratch recipes if you are willing and able.  And I do recommend it, that flavors are sensational!

The recipe I am going to list below is the semi-homemade version, using a box mix, caramel sauce in the jar and Cool Whip®.  Just because I can’t post this beautiful and delicious cake in the completely from-scratch form doesn’t mean that I can’t provide some sort of recipe for you to use!

First though, the assembly.

Make the cake in two square 9-inch cake pans.  I prepared them by coating with Goop and then lined with parchment.

Allow cakes to cool to room temperature.  Level cakes to the same height.

Prepare caramel sauce and allow to cool to room temperature. (or get caramel sauce our of fridge and heat to lukewarm)

Place one square layer cake on cake stand and cover in approximately 1/2 cup of caramel sauce.  You will want to sauce to be warm enough to move, but not runny. (The consistency can all be controlled through temperature at this point.)  If your caramel sauce is too runny, allow it to cool more before finishing covering this layer of cake, we are trying to avoid a puddle of caramel around the base of the cake.  After you have poured caramel on cake, chill it for about 15 minutes in fridge or 10 minutes in freezer.  You want to ‘set’ the sauce as much as possible.

Once caramel sauce is covering cake and firm, you can prepare it for the next layer.

Prepare apple whipped cream. (or get out your Cool Whip®)

Cut a straw into four equal sections and place in the four corners of the cake.

Caramel cake with straws to support

This step isn’t pretty, but is essential for this cake.  The whipped cream is not sturdy enough to hold the weight of the cake above.

Add about 1 cup of whipped cream to the cake and smooth out.  You will want to whipped cream to be no higher than the height of the straws.

Place next layer of caramel cake on top of whipped cream layer and repeat the step of pouring the caramel icing over the cake.  Use a bit less at first, as you do not want it to drip too much.

Fill a piping bag with the remaining apple whipped cream and pipe out pretty swirls on top. (I prefer this open star tip from Ateco)

Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon (it’s a small amount, feel free to adjust to fit your tastes).

Drizzle top with a very runny caramel sauce. (Add a bit of milk to room temperature icing and stir until combined.  Put in piping bag and cut off the smallest tip then carefully drizzle.)

Chill until ready to serve.

Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting and Apple Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

caramel cake with apple cider whipped cream (semi-homemade version)

Ingredients

  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • One container of caramel sauce (sizes can vary, just make sure you have at least 16 ounces)
  • 1-3 cups confectioners sugar
  • One 32-ounce container of store bought whipped cream
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Apple extract or 1 tablespoon apple cider

Instructions

  1. Prepare yellow cakes according to the directions on the box in 9-inch square cake pans.
  2. Pour caramel sauce (about 16 ounces) into stand mixer. Add one cup of confectioners sugar and whip at medium speed until incorporated. You may add more confectioners sugar if needed; you are looking for a fairly thick consistency, one that is not overly runny.
  3. Place one layer of cake on cake stand and cover in about 1/2 cup of caramel frosting you just made.
  4. Open store bought whipped cream and add in 1 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 tsp apple extract or up to 1 tablespoon of apple cider.
  5. Place about 1 cup whipped cream on cake and level.
  6. Repeat with next layer of cake and caramel, then pipe mounds of remaining whipped cream.
  7. Chill until ready to serve.
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Caramel Cake with Caramel Frosting and Apple Cinnamon Whipped Cream!

TIPS: You want to cakes to be as level as possible so nothing goes sliding off with that beautiful caramel.  The caramel will become more runny the warmer it gets.  If you are able to give your cakes a slight concave in the center that would work as well.

The caramel is the trickiest part.  Once you are able to determine the best consistency to work with you will be set!  I found that the best way to practice was to use cupcakes and my guinea pigs.  (plus… yum!  Will share that recipe soon!) If you need this cake for a special event, be sure to practice first!

If you make the cake from scratch, you will have THREE layers of cake (lots of batter, never fill your pan more than 1/2 full).  I don’t recommend making this cake into a three layer (stability is an issue), so freezing the extra layer is a great option.

In the semi-homemade recipe I added powdered (confectioners) sugar to store bought caramel sauce.  I KNOW!  I know.  This is nuts.  But what I was going for in consistency.  The sauce needs to be a little thicker so that it does not simply spill out over everything.  You can skip adding the powdered sugar and just use much LESS caramel sauce so that spilling over is not an issue.

Apple Extract is not easy to find, I had to order some. (Pure Apple Extract from OliveNation).  You can substitute apple cider, but make sure that you start with teaspoons and taste test after each addition.  Be careful to not add too much liquid to the store bought whipped cream as it could become too runny to pipe.

This cake is WORTH the work!  It’s amazing.  Delicious!  Those flavors are genius and wonderful and a must for fall and holiday gatherings.

I styled this cake exactly like my Chocolate Pumpkin Cake and Red Velvet Peppermint Cake.  It’s a show stopper for sure!

I Am Baker

eight-layer dip

I am posting this in the wrong season.  I mean, technically speaking.  Does delicious eight-layer dip ever go out of season?  In this day and age we can get everything we need at the grocery store all year round it seems.  Even organic options!

Eight-Layer Dip

I just happen to have a little party coming up and this sounded like the perfect appetizer, even if it is closer to winter than summer.  This particular recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman’s A Year of Holiday’s cookbook, which is one of my favorites.

Eight-Layer Dip!

She adds roasted corn to her recipe which is genius.  I LOVE roasted corn and the idea of it added to 7-layer dip makes me  happy.  And bloated because I end up eating 57 million salty tortilla chips when this dip is around.

eight-layer dip

Ingredients

  • 6 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes
  • pinch salt
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
  • One 16-ounce can refried beans
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, finely grated
  • 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, finely grated
  • 1 cup black olives
  • 1- 1 1/2 cups roasted corn kernels

Instructions

  1. Add first four ingredients in a medium bowl. Add the juice of 1 lime and pinch of salt.
  2. Stir to combine, set aside. (you have now made pico de gallo)
  3. Add avocado's to a separate bowl and mix in half of the pico de gallo. (this is chunky guacamole)
  4. Spread refried beans on to serving platter in a flat smooth layer.
  5. Add dollops of sour cream on top and carefully spread in an even layer over the refried beans.
  6. Add the chunky guacamole in dollops and then spread in an even layer.
  7. Add the olives and the grated cheese.
  8. Add roasted corn to pico de gallo and combine.
  9. Put pico de gallo on top of cheese layer. Squeeze remaining lime. (Use a much or as little as you would like. If you want to use less, feel free to set extra lime to the side and offer to guests to use at their discretion.)
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Recipe just barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman.

Eight-Layer Dip!

I am still debating on wether or not to serve these on a platter or in individual cups.  I like the idea of the cups, but people still need a plate for the chips right?  So I am not sure the extra efforts is worth it in the end.  If you have experience with this method I would love some insight!

Eight-Layer Dip!

Oh my word do I love this stuff.  I could eat it every single day of my life.  The only difference is that I omit the beans and make a layer of taco seasoned ground beef.  Which I can’t believe I just shared with you because people usually react in horror when I tell them I don’t like refried beans.

Here I go sharing an un-seasonal recipe AND confessing I am practically un-American with my dislike of refried beans. Don’t be made at me ok?  Just make this awesome dip and lets be friends again.

I Am Baker

the better homes and gardens experience (giveaway)

I am thankful to BHG for allowing me this opportunity and helping to sponsor this blog!
Sometimes an opportunity comes along that is simply too amazing to pass up.  I had to move mountains to attend the 1st annual (I gave it that ‘annual’ label, but with the overwhelming success of the first event I can’t think of a single reason why it wouldn’t be happen every year!) Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Cookies Experience.

When you have five kids, a hard working hubby, and very limited family able to come and stay with said five kids, making time to attend lavish functions like this are just not part of my reality.

But it was Better Homes and Gardens.  I mean, da.

bhgparty

The experience started off on Friday evening.  Myself, a few other bloggers and just about 100 BHG fans were treated to an evening of decadent cocktails, perfectly paired appetizers, finger foods as well as adorable desserts.

The whole event was a feast for the eyes as well as the stomach!  The mingling was the stuff you read in the society section.  First I met an executive from the New York offices then a mother and daughter from LA who were fabulous then the Editor in Chief of Better Homes and Gardens, Gayle Butler.

I walked up to her and three other editors at the magazine and nervously said,

“Hi Nancy!  It’s so nice to meet you!”

Then glanced down and realized I had just called Gayle Butler the wrong name.  And I threw up in my mouth a little.  And almost pretended to have a heart attack just because that seemed like it would be less awkward.

But Gayle, perfectly living up to the charming and graceful reputation she has earned, didn’t bat and eye and we had a lovely chat.  She was kind.  She was interested.  She was interesting!

My right eye still twitches uncontrollably when I think about it.

After a very short presentation from all the editors, we mingled some more and headed back to the hotel.  The next day was starting early, and for a very good reason.  It was jam packed full of events and sessions!

This is what Saturday looked like:

7:30 am Holiday Pancake Breakfast 
8:30 am How to Throw the Perfect Open House 
10:00 am Hands-on Test Kitchen Sessions 
11:00 am Never-Fail Holiday Menu with Scott Peacock (includes lunch) 
1:30 pm Magically Delicious Desserts with Gesine Bullock-Prado
3:00 pm Hands-on Test Kitchen Sessions 

4:00 pm Holiday Slow Cookers Reimagined 
5:30 to 7 pm Holiday Happy Hour 
7:30 pm Tastes of the Season Dinner* 

Now, if you are like me you are thinking… that is A LOT going on in one day!

But I have to tell you, it was perfectly done.  The sessions were entertaining and delightful.  The staff at Better Homes and Gardens has a killer sense of humor… we were laughing most of the day!  Quirky and spunky and just plain delightful.  Such a great bunch!  And we were fed fantastic food all. day. long.

Sidenote:  They all have amazing fashion sense too.  No matter the theme, be it dressy or casual, everyone looked adorable and refined and stunning.

bhgparty4

One of my favorite parts was when Jan Miller (the magazine’s Executive Food Editor) was up on stage.  Her personality is hilarious and contagious.  I could have watched her and her cohorts all day!

Nancy Hopkins (deputy Food Editor) was also a surprise to me.  Here are these brilliant, accomplished, well traveled and well-connected insightful women, and they were friendly.  Funny.  Personable.  After the weekend, I felt like I could call her my girlfriend!

They put all my preconceived notions about high-powered executive women to shame!

jenniferdarling

And then Jennifer Darling handed me a Crock Pop.  In true BHG style, it was the grandest of presentations and they came out saying, “YOU GET A CROCK POT AND YOU GET A CROCK POT AND YOU GET A CROCK POT!”  I died.  It was genius and such a treat!

It was an absolute honor to hear Scott Peacock talk about all things egg.  (and other fascinating information of course!) He is one of the most charming and witty people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.  When he gave his presentation I was on the edge of my seat.  I didn’t want it to end!  Thankfully he made an appearance at lunch (which was also his menu, distinctive and enjoyable!) and answered question after question and posed with adoring fan after adoring fan.  #itwasme #fangirl

Since I love desserts it was interesting to learn from the brilliant Gesine Bullock-Prado.  Her knowledge in all things pastry and sweet confections is second to none.  And honestly, she is just darn funny!

bhgparties

My face is all red and puffy because I couldn’t stop drinking wine. It was worth it. 

In the evening, we were treated to a four-course meal with wine pairings.  The food was exquisite.  Heavenly.  The company even better.

The editors and staff at Better Homes and Gardens did it right.  Every detail was perfectly executed and every provision thought out ahead of time.  We, as the attendees, were treated like royalty.  Like our opinions mattered and were appreciated.

bhg

Jocelyn of Grandbaby Cakes, Allie from Baking a Moment, Alice from Hip Foodie Mom and

Julianne from Beyond Frosting

While touring the facility we got to see the cover of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.  Today I am not only am I sharing a recipe with you, but I am GIVING AWAY one copy!!

But first, the recipe.

Fettucini Alfredo Pasta

I had a hard time narrowing down what I was going to make, so I didn’t.  I made five recipes the first week I was home after the event!  But this one was so beautiful I had to share.

fettuccine alfredo

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dried fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Grated or finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cook fettuccine according to package directions.
  2. In a large saucepan melt butter then add cream, salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and boil gently for 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese.
  6. Drain pasta.
  7. Add pasta to hot sauce.
  8. Toss to combine.
  9. Transfer to warm serving dish. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese, Makes 4 servings.
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Recipe shared from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book with permission.

Fettucini Alfredo Pasta

This beautiful recipe was so easy and so delicious, next time I may need to double it just to keep my family happy!

And now, for that giveaway!

Simply tell me, “What is your favorite thing about Better Homes and Gardens?”  Click on the box right below this to get entered.  (please be patient, it may take a moment to load)

OFFICIAL RULES HERE

This giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada.

Check out my friend Jocelyn’s perspective of the BHG event as well!

I Am Baker

Puppy Chow surprise-inside cake

I love this cake.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Every little thing about it.  From the amazing chocolate flavor to the chocolate sprinkles to the glorious surprise waiting inside.

Delicious. Beautiful. (in my opinion!) and Easy.

Let’s get to it!

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

After assembling the layers of this cake I covered it in a thin coat of buttercream.  I used about 1 cup of chocolate sprinkles and gently pressed them into the cake.

After the cake was covered I used a fondant smoother to press them in further and to get the clean, sharp lines you see here.  Although I lightened it a bit (we are already losing light so quickly here in Minnesota!) this picture is basically straight out of my camera.

But lets take a step back.  Just how did I assemble it?

Puppy Chow Surprise Inside Cake HOW TO

I started with three 6-inch chocolate cakes.  After chilling them, I used a 3-inch round cookie cutter and cut out the center of one of the cakes.

I then placed a thin layer of chocolate buttercream around the edge of the cake with the center cut out.

Puppy Chow Surprise Inside Cake HOW TO

Next, I placed the cake with the center cut out on top of one of the other layers, frosting side down.  We want the frosting to act as a glue.

I filled the cake with that fabulous Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow.

Added another thin layer of chocolate buttercream around the edge.

Finally placed the last layer on top.

I chilled my cake at this point, as I find it easier to cover in frosting when the cake is stable and firm.

Cover with thin layer of chocolate buttercream and then sprinkles. (as directed above)

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

And now we are back to here.

Ready to see the surprise?

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

So fun right?

And totally delicious.  Pumpkin. Chocolate.  More chocolate.  Crunchy Chex® cereal bits.  It’s stinkin awesome!!!

For a cake.  I mean, it’s not world peace or anything. #da

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Here is the nitty gritty:

Prepare a batch of Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow. (Give yourself a few hours for it to cool and harden.)

Prepare a chocolate cake (you can use box mix or this wonderful Chocolate Cake recipe) in three 6-inch round cake pans.
Remove cakes from pans and chill until they are very firm.

Prepare chocolate buttercream.

Follow directions above for assembly.

Chill cake until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

And there you have it!  How to prepare a Chocolate Buttercream Sprinkle Covered Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow Surprise-Inside Cake!

Say that three times fast. ;)

If you like this cake be sure to check out my new book, Surprise-Inside Cakes!

I Am Baker

candy corn cupcakes

This post is sponsored by McCormicks.

What’s for dessert?  Cupcakes.  Glorious dual-toned, frosting piled high, covered in an obscene sweet glaze decadent cupcakes.

Candy Corn Inspired Cupcakes with pure Candy Corn Glaze!

Imagine if you are in grade school, and have been sitting in class all morning.  The tick-tock of the clock is constant, and you are full of energy, waiting so impatiently for the lunch bell to ring.

Consonants and pronouns and quizzes and tests are just another thing keeping you from a cold milk, peanut butter & jelly and being able to talk with your friends about whatever you want.

Finally!  Lunch time.

Candy Corn Inspired Cupcakes with pure Candy Corn Glaze!

Opening your lunch box yields the greatest surprise of all time… a CUPCAKE!  And not just any cupcake, a cupcake covered in more frosting than you have ever seen!  On top of that frosting is a sweet sticky orange glaze.  Without hesitation you stick your finger into it, as knowing what it tastes like suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world.

The first taste is utterly sweet… and confusing.  What is it?  Familiar, but hard to place.  You pull the entire cupcake out of your lunch box and see all the glorious color.  Candy Corn!  That glaze tastes just like candy corn!

Everyone is oohing and aahing.  They all want some, but it’s all yours.

You sit back, revel in being the coolest kid at the lunch table and think to yourself, “I am totally going to clean my room when I get home. My mom rocks.”

candy corn cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2-layer size) white cake mix
  • 2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Yellow & Red McCormick® Food Coloring
  • Candy Corn Glaze
  • 1 bag candy corn, 11 ounce size
  • 1/4 cup water

Instructions

  1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding vanilla.
  2. Divide batter in half.
  3. Tint one batch yellow with 1/3 teaspoon yellow food color. Tint second batch orange with 1/4 teaspoon yellow food color and 1/8 teaspoon red food color.
  4. Fill each paper-lined muffin cup 1/3 full with orange batter. Gently add yellow batter on top of orange batter, filling each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on wire rack.
  5. Candy Corn Glaze
  6. Reserve 1/4 cup of candy corn then place the remainder of the 11-ounce bag in a medium saucepan. Pour in 1/4 cup water and heat on low for about 10-15 minutes. You will want to candy corn to be melted completely.
  7. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. You will want to cover cupcakes while glaze is still warm, but not hot.
  8. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over frosting.
  9. Decorate tops of cupcake extra candy corn pieces. (not shown in picture)
  10. Can be done 1-2 days in advance.
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Recipe shared with permission from McCormick.

At least, that is what I envision would happen.  More likely than not, the cupcake would get schmooshed on the way to school and frosting would be all over the lunchbox, the sandwich, the milk, the apple.  My precious little darling would have her lunchbox held up to her face unabashedly licking every last bit of frosting from every last surface.  She would then have frosting in her hair, on her eyelashes, all over her face and hands.

Maybe this is better suited as an after school snack!

Candy Corn Inspired Cupcakes with pure Candy Corn Glaze!

A couple things:

The first time I made this glaze (candy corn schootcharoo bars) I played around with it quite a bit.  I think it works best at a lukewarm temperature for drizzling over cupcakes.  The cooler it gets the more firm it gets and therefor harder to drizzle.  Once you are done covering the cupcakes I would place an remaining glaze in an air tight storage container and clean out the pan.

I did my candy corn cupcakes in opposite color order.  This was entirely for vanity purposes!  I just liked how it looks with the orange on top and bottom and the yellow breaking it up a bit.  The recipe is written how I did it, but if you want a traditional candy corn cupcake, be sure to put the yellow batter on the bottom.

While this recipe is written to use a box mix, you can most certainly use your favorite white cake or yellow cake recipe.

I love this buttercream recipe for bright white frosting.

If you want to use a bit less frosting I think this style of cupcake decorating would be lovely and would allow the glaze to pool just beautifully on the cupcake. (and would be more lunch box friendly!)

Candy Corn Inspired Cupcakes with pure Candy Corn Glaze!

These sweet little treats are definitely perfect for the occasional seasonal indulgence.  The bright colors and billowing frosting take ‘eating with your eyes’ to a whole new level!  And of course, are the ideal treat for anyone who loves candy corn!

I Am Baker

vanilla cinnamon chocolate ombre pancakes

One of my favorite cakes in my book is the Ombre Cake.  The main reason I love it is because it screams masculine to me, and that is not always easy with a buttercream flower petal covered cake!  I happened to catch a quick glance at it the other day (it’s on my sidebar of the landing page of the blog) and decided… that needs to be pancakes.

Vanilla Cinnamon Chocolate Ombre Pancakes

The flavors are a bit different than my original ombre cake, and this is not covered in gobs of frosting, but in my defense it is for breakfast.  I hope you will let my inconsistencies fly!

Vanilla Cinnamon Chocolate Ombre Pancakes

This was a great opportunity to have my little kids (Audrey and Eddie) in the kitchen helping.  They did great and learned about the difference between cake batter and pancake batter.  Because apparently I make a lot of cakes and this is what they are usually helping with.

My husband and I decided that now is as good of time as any to really start our small kids on consistent chores and “life duties.”  It comes from Proverbs 22:6, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.“.  (NIV) If I want the kids to be knowledgeable and helpful in the kitchen, I really need to model those behaviors.  (Well, the helpful anyway.  I am still working on the ‘knowledgeable’ part!) So instead of my whizzing through meals just to get them done, I am going to slow down and include them in the process.  

 

Note: This is a large recipe and makes at least 36 good sized pancakes.

vanilla cinnamon chocolate ombre pancakes

Ingredients

    Base Batter
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Vanilla Pancakes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Cinnamon Pancakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Chocolate Pancakes
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Prepare the 'base batter'.
  2. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl use a fork to combine eggs, milk and oil.
  4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and stir until just moistened.
  5. Separate mixture into three bowls.
  6. Vanilla Pancake
  7. Add in vanilla and stir until just combined.
  8. Cinnamon Pancakes
  9. Add cinnamon and vanilla to base batter and stir until just combined.
  10. Chocolate Pancakes
  11. Add cocoa, vanilla, 1 tbsp sugar and mini chocolate chips to base batter. Stir until just combined.
  12. Turn oven on to warm and line a cookie sheet with parchment to set completed pancakes on.
  13. Starting with the vanilla batter, prepare pancakes using about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. You should place batter onto a hot (about 300-325 degree) griddle. (baking spray works well if you need to grease the griddle)
  14. When pancakes are done place them on parchment lined cookie sheet and into the oven to warm while completing other batters.
  15. To serve place chocolate chip pancake on plate, then cinnamon, then vanilla. Top with butter and maple syrup and enjoy!
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Vanilla Cinnamon Chocolate Ombre Pancakes

The kids were skeptical on eating these all together, but I insisted.  Turns out they loved it and demolished the entire recipe. My oldest, Colton, made a point of telling me that I needed to blog these and that I needed to tell everyone that he LOVED them.

While it does take a couple more minutes to prepare, it is definitely worth it!  The flavor combination is fabulous and tastes like a really decadent treat for breakfast!

I Am Baker

peanut butter chocolate chip coffee cake

This is one of those cakes that I inevitably end up having for breakfast but that should never be served for breakfast.  It is a full on honest-to-goodness cake with sugar and butter and decadent frosting.

But it has coffee in it.  So I make it in the morning loving that I have a very good reason to brew myself another cup.

I am an adult and can totally do that ok?!  Just don’t tell my mom, she would kill me!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting!

So why coffee in a peanut butter cake? Because instead of adding regular old chocolate chips, I prefer to use good quality chopped chocolate. (For this one I used Scharffen Berger 62% Semi-Sweet.)  And we all know that coffee amplifies the flavor of chocolate!

When you chop chocolate as poorly as I do with a huge Chefs Knife (a Chef I am not, I just like to use their cool stuff), there is inevitably a tablespoon or two of smaller, fine crumbles as well as chocolate dust.  I absolutely love that in this cake and love that every single bite is infused with the beautiful rich chocolate.

But then I kick it up a notch and add coffee.  Not just any coffee, but strong coffee.  And not with any ole machine, but with the brand new Keurig 2.0.

Keurig 2.0

The Keurig’s are more like a computer now; highly intelligent and full of brilliant options I didn’t know I wanted but can now not possibly live without.

Like the STRONG button.  I use it every single time even when I am not technically supposed to.  Which I weird I even think that I am technically supposed to drink coffee a certain way and then go so far as to make myself feel guilty for not adhering the the imaginary guidelines I have set in place.

keurig-2-0-machine-story-top

In summary (where is that cake recipe???), not only is Keurig my go-to coffee maker for amazing coffee, hot chocolate and a variety of other drinks, it is my go-to machine in Baking.  And if you like coffee and try this cake or my Perfect Chocolate Cake with the “strong” coffee, you will be as hooked as I am.

It’s a game changer baby.

Peanut Butter Glaze Frosting

I decided to make a simple glaze to combat the rich chocolate flavor of the cake.  Well, it was supposed to be simple.  It was supposed to drizzle.  But I skimmed the recipe (bad baker!) and instead of 2/3 cup added 2-3 cups.

So thick and creamy ruled the day and not soft drizzles.  Just be sure if you make it you try the soft drizzles first ok?  The warm glaze seeps into every nook and cranny of the cake and adds the amazing moisture and flavor that makes me long to just eat it directly on my treadmill so I can do it without guilt.  Well, when the treadmill is on that is.  You know, being used for exercise purposes.  Like it is intended to be used.  #whatever

Peanut Butter Glaze Frosting

peanut butter chocolate chip coffee cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons coffee
  • 1/2 cup chopped semi-sweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, the baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
  2. In a separate bowl with a handheld mixer cream together the brown sugar, the peanut butter, and the butter.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla and the coffee.
  4. Add in the flour mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition, and gently stir in 1/2 cup of the chopped chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into a prepared 8-inch round cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 28-34 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool slightly then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. If you are adding peanut butter glaze, turn the cake out directly onto a cake stand and add glaze while cake is still slightly warm.
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Adapted from Cooking Channel.  Click here for Peanut Butter Glaze recipe.

Peanut Butter Glaze Frosting

My favorite way to eat this cake is warm and for breakfast.  Do not be like me.  You make yours in the afternoon and enjoy it for dessert as it was meant to be.

If you do end up with any extra glaze, be sure to save it.  It goes great on everything!

I Am Baker

pumpkin spice puppy chow

I love puppy chow.  Muddy buddy’s.  Chum.  Trash.  It has a different name for every area of the country it seems.  Here in Minnesota it is puppy chow.  And it is DElicious.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow!

And easy.  Four ingredients.

Ten minutes.

And you are in white chocolate covered Chex Mix® heaven.

Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow!

pumpkin spice puppy chow

Ingredients

  • 1 box Cinnamon Chex® cereal (13.5 ounce)
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. Carefully melt white chocolate in microwave. I started at 1 minute, removed and stirred, then heated again in 10 second increments until completely melted.
  2. Add pumpkin spice to melted chocolate and stir well.
  3. Place cereal into bowl; pour white chocolate mixture over cereal. Stir until well coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to a large resealable plastic food bag and add powdered sugar. Seal bag tightly. Shake bag until powdered sugar evenly coats cereal.
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Pumpkin Spice Puppy Chow!

We were all addicted to it of course, and could not stop eating it and it was all gone in a very very short period of time that I am not able to disclose mainly because its so embarrassing. #butworthit

Try it. You’ll like it. Promise.

I Am Baker

pumpkin french toast

In all the times I have made this fabulous version of french toast, I have never once made it for breakfast.  My kids adore it (and all the pumpkin treats that fall brings) but they always seem to request it for dinner.

Which is fine with me!

Pumpkin French Toast

My husband’s brother shared some freshly made maple syrup and that is what we used on the french toast.  If you can ever splurge and use real maple syrup (no high fructose corn syrup allowed) I recommend it.

I also use a 12 grain bread in this recipe.  The main reason being that it is what we prefer to keep in the house.  But I also like how well it stands up to the pumpkin seasoning and that the small grains add some texture to the egg soaked bread.

Pumpkin French Toast

pumpkin french toast

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 4 eggs
  • 16-20 pieces bread

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin and pie spice until smooth.
  2. Dip each side of the bread and cook on a hot, greased griddle or skillet. I have mine set to 300 degrees F.
  3. Flip the bread over after approximately 2 minutes.
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Adapted from 5 Dollar Dinners.

Pumpkin French Toast

If you prefer you can use all whole milk or even skim milk.  After we started drinking raw milk a few years ago, I feel like I am drinking water when I drink skim.  That is totally a matter of preference and you are welcome to make an adjustment that fits your likes.

We are a “one loaf” family, meaning that we can can easily polish off an entire loaf in one meal.  This recipe is designed to accommodate that!  If you need to halve the recipe it can be done with success.