Dark Chocolate-Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake

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The title read, A Cake You Can Eat for Breakfast and Dessert.” Well, that got my attention! The Yahoo Food article also said “A cup of coffee will disguise this treat as breakfast, and a scoop of ice cream transforms it into dessert.” Perfect! I always love recipes that give you that kind of flexibility! :)

So of course I had to try this coffee cake. I used more dark chocolate, added a little more cinnamon, and used pecans instead of hazelnuts. Yum! This coffee cake has a thick batter that bakes into a dense yet cakey chocolate-cinnamon treat. I found that my baking time was less than what the original recipe recommended, and you do want to be careful not to overbake this, or it will be a little dry.

This coffee cake is great for morning or anytime–especially if you are a fan of dark chocolate!

DARK CHOCOLATE-CINNAMON PECAN COFFEE CAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 9-12 servings in an 8 x 8″ pan

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain whole Greek yogurt

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter 8” square baking pan; set aside.

Toss pecans, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and ¼ cup of the sugar in a small bowl; set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and remaining ¾ cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. With mixer on low speed, add dry flour mixture ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with yogurt in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. You’ll end up with a nice thick batter.

Spoon half of the batter into prepared pan and smooth top; top with half of the chocolate/pecan mixture. Spoon remaining batter over this and smooth top; top with remaining chocolate/pecan mixture. Bake cake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes (be careful not to overbake, or it will be dry! I recommend checking it after it has baked about 35 to 37 minutes). Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool in pan before cutting into squares, and serve (if you want to eat it warm, let it cool about 10 minutes before cutting). I think this coffee cake tastes best warm myself!

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It’s been awhile since I’ve made a coffee cake, so this hit the spot! I have a few other coffee cake recipes I’ve been wanting to try. Have you made any good ones lately?

Linked to Thursday Favorite Things,  Foodie Friday, I’m Lovin’ It, Tickled Pink.

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Six of My Favorite Pumpkin Recipes

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Every autumn I get in the pumpkin-baking mood. Here are some of my favorite recipes I’ve posted before–if you haven’t seen them already, you may want to check them out!

Pam’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake (above)…a large, moist, yummy cake topped with rich cream cheese frosting!

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Pumpkin Cornbread or Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins…great for a fall breakfast or brunch!

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Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting…a great autumn cupcake!

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Pumpkin Bread with Pumpkin Buttercream…tastes great with or without the frosting–you can serve it for breakfast or brunch unfrosted, or serve it for dessert with the frosting!

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread…another pumpkin bread, with a delicious cream cheese filling!

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Double-Glazed Pumpkin Scones…a real treat any time of day!

Have you been doing lots of pumpkin-baking? Let me know if you try any of these out!

Linked to Foodie Friday.

Lemon Curd Berry Cake

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I had some lemon curd I needed to use, and I came across this recipe from Good Housekeeping that looked so good! A lemony cake with lots of fresh berries–yum! And I could just imagine how good the lemon flavor would be with the lemon curd. I thought I would make it even more lemony by using lemon extract instead of vanilla and using more lemon zest. Add I added a dash of fresh lemon juice, too. The original recipe suggests using a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries. I just had blueberries, so that’s all I used. I also made a glaze topping to go over the cake, but you could serve it with whipped cream and fresh berries like the original recipe suggests.

If you like lemon-flavored treats, this would be a great recipe for you to try!

LEMON CURD BERRY CAKE by NancyCreative, adapted from Good Housekeeping

Makes 1 bundt cake with a 12-cup pan (about 12 servings)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/3 cup finely ground toasted slivered or sliced almonds (they work fine untoasted, too)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (from the zested lemon)
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup prepared lemon curd (you’ll need about an 8 to 10-ounce jar of lemon curd for the cake and the glaze, and you’ll have some left over; I used this brand)
  • 2 cups mixed fresh berries–blackberries, blueberries, and/or raspberries (or if you just have one kind of berry, use that–I used all blueberries)
  • Lemon Curd Glaze (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.

PREPARE CAKE: In medium bowl, whisk flour, almonds, baking powder, and salt. In large bowl, with mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar 4 minutes or until light and fluffy (or you can beat by hand). Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then reduce speed to low, if using a mixer, and beat in lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until combined. Beat in lemon curd until just combined. Fold in berries.

Spoon batter into prepared pan; lightly tap pan on counter to remove any air pockets. Bake, in center of oven, 60 to 65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. After cake has completely cooled, top with Lemon Curd Glaze.

LEMON CURD GLAZE

  • 5 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared lemon curd (if the lemon curd is very thick, heat it in the microwave for about 20 seconds to make it more stirable)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • additional berries for garnish

In medium bowl, blend the whipping cream, lemon curd, and lemon juice, blending well. Add confectioner’s sugar and blend well. Spoon glaze over cake, let glaze set, top with additional berries, if desired, and serve. There’s plenty of glaze, so you can drizzle some extra glaze from the cake plate onto each slice with a spoon–it tastes great that way!

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Note: The original recipe says to serve the cake with Lemon Cream (instead of glaze), so that’s another option you may want to try…

LEMON CREAM

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup prepared lemon curd
  • 1 Tablespoon sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • Additional confectioner’s sugar to lightly dust the cake, optional
  • Mixed berries (or one kind of berry) for garnish

In medium bowl, beat cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low; beat in lemon curd and confectioner’s sugar until combined.

Serve cake with Lemon Cream and berries. You can give the cake a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar before serving with the cream and berries if you like,

If you like making your own lemon curd, I’m sure it would be fantastic in this cake recipe! I used store-bought lemon curd, but one of these days I want to try making my own!

Do you have any great recipes that use lemon curd as an ingredient?

7-UP Pound Cake with Lemon-Lime Glaze

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I’m really not a big soda-pop drinker; I usually drink iced tea instead. But every once in awhile I’ll l have some soda on hand, usually left over from a get-together or party. That’s how I ended up with some 7-UP recently. Instead of tossing it, I decided to see if there was anything I could make with it. After all, I had made a Coca-Cola Cake, which tasted great, so was there such a thing as a 7-UP cake?

It turns out there was–a 7-UP Pound Cake! In fact, it’s been around for awhile, since the 1960′s, when bundt cake pans became popular. I found about 8 or 9 different recipes (here’s one of them) when I searched on the web. They all had pretty much the same butter-sugar-egg-flour amounts, with variations on the amounts of flavorings and lemon juice used. So I came up with my own version and added a sweet and slightly tart lemon-lime glaze to top it off.

This a really good, moist pound cake! And the glaze has a lot of lemon-limey flavor. Some recipes called for 3/4 cup of 7-UP in the cake and some called for 1 cup; I used 3/4 cup when I made this cake and thought it had a great pound cake texture; next time I make this I will try 1 cup to see if there is much difference–I’m guessing the additional 7-UP will make the cake a little more moist, though it seemed moist enough with 3/4 cup.

Next time you have some extra 7-UP, give this a try!

7–UP POUND CAKE WITH LEMON-LIME GLAZE by NancyCreative

Makes one 10″ Bundt cake 

  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon lemon extract or flavoring
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup 7–UP

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Grease or spray a 10″ bundt or tube pan; set aside (you can grease and flour the pan if you want it to come out super-easy).

In large bowl, cream butter and sugar, blending well. Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract and blend well.

Add flour to the butter mixture, 1 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add 7–UP, about a half or third at a time, blending well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325˚F for 65 to 75 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Note: My cake was done in 65 minutes, using 3/4 cup of 7–UP. If you use 1 cup of 7-UP your baking time may be a little longer, but be careful not to over bake, or it may be dry).

nc7uppdck3Remove cake from oven and let cool for 10 minutes (the cake will be cracked on the bottom–see photo, left–which is fine). Invert pan to remove cake and cool completely on wire rack. While cake is cooling, make the glaze…

(A note on the glaze: this makes a lot of glaze! Enough to glaze the cake twice, which is what I did…I generously drizzled a first glaze on, let it set, then put a second glaze over that, for an extra lemon-limey taste. If you just want one layer of glaze, you can halve this recipe.)

LEMON–LIME GLAZE:

  • 3 cups powdered (confectioner’s) sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 to 4 Tablespoons 7-UP (start with 3 and if you want a thinner glaze, add another 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon)

In medium bowl, mix powdered sugar with lemon and lime juices and 7–UP, blending everything well. Drizzle half the glaze over the cake when it is completely cooled; let glaze set. Then, if desired, drizzle a second glaze over the cake and let set. Cut into slices and serve.

Note: If you are doing a double glaze, you can also try this: put the first glaze on while the cake is still warm–some of the glaze will soak into the cake, giving it a sweeter taste. Then let the cake completely cool, and put on the second glaze.

This batter also works for cupcakes…one of my readers, Amy, told me she baked hers at 325˚F for 25 minutes. Not sure how many she made with the batter, but I’m guessing probably about 24.

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Have you made any good recipes using soda pop as an ingredient?

Pam’s Pumpkin Sheet Cake

Pam shares my love for baking, and she recently gave me this wonderful recipe for a pumpkin cake. It’s a large sheet-cake style cake, so it’s really easy to make and perfect for group get-togethers like potlucks, club meetings…any gathering where you have hungry people to feed! :)  I haven’t come across anyone who hasn’t liked this cake, so you just can’t go wrong in making this!

This sheet cake is made in a 10″x 15″x 1″ pan, so there’s plenty to go around. If you like Texas sheet cakes, then you’ll like this, too (unless you’re not crazy about pumpkin!). The cake is moist, with a great pumpkin flavor, and it’s topped with a creamy, smooth cream cheese frosting–a perfect combination!

Here’s the yummy recipe–thanks for sharing it, Pam!

PAM’S PUMPKIN SHEET CAKE from Pam S.

Makes one 10″x 15″ sheet cake

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached flour)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, blend eggs and sugar, then add the oil and pumpkin puree, blending everything well.

In medium bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, blending everything well. Add this dry indgredient mixture a little at a time to the egg/sugar mixture until everything is blended well, then spread into an ungreased 10″x 15″x 1″ pan (since I didn’t use a non-stick pan, I greased mine, but greasing your pan is optional).

Bake at 350 degrees for 24 to 30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (I baked mine for 25 minutes). Let cake cool completely, then frost with Cream Cheese Frosting.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened (I used 6 ounces from an 8-ounce block of light cream cheese)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually add in powdered sugar and blend well. Frost cake when cooled. If not serving the cake soon after frosting it, store it in your refrigerator until almost ready to serve, taking it out of the fridge a little earlier so it can get to room temperature.

Yum! It’s hard not to just eat one piece of this cake!

It’s always fun trying new pumpkin recipes. Have you been making a lot of pumpkin goodies this fall?

Coca-Cola Cake from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics

My Coca-Cola Cake, cut while still warm…

I’ve found a lot of great recipes from Southern Living magazine through the years, so I was looking forward to reviewing their new cookbookSouthern Living Home Cooking Basics: A Complete Illustrated Guide to Southern Cooking. It really is complete, with information on how to stock your pantry and helpful, detailed, step-by-step instructions for preparing fruits,vegetables, herbs, meats, and cheeses…pretty much everything you need to know to make great Southern dishes.

There are over 200 recipes and lots of full-color photos in this cookbook. It also has a great section on cooking methods–baking, broiling, braising, frying, grilling, roasting, sauteing, and steaming. The recipes are organized in these categories: Appetizers, Breakfast and Brunch, Breads, Sandwiches and Soups, Meats and Poultry, Fish and Shellfish, Side Dishes, Desserts, and Sauces & Condiments.

As I was looking through my review copy, some of the recipes that sounded good to me were: Spicy Ham-and-Eggs Benedict with Chive Biscuits, Red Pepper Jelly-Brie Bites, Cinnamon-Pecan Rolls, Cheddar Cheese Grits Casserole, Praline-Apple Bread, Easy Mini Muffulettas, Loaded Potato Soup, Bev’s Famous Meatloaf, Salt-and-Pepper Oven Fries, Caramel-Pecan-Pumpkin Bread Puddings (photo from book below left), and Southern-Style Caramel Apples (photo from book below right).

And, of course, the Coca-Cola Cake. I’ve been wanting to make one of these, but hadn’t had the chance to look up a recipe for it. So it was great when I found the recipe here! It’s a very moist, tender cake topped with smooth, silky frosting and a sprinkling of pecans. Very yummy and easy to make! It tastes great served warm, when the frosting is still gooey, and it tastes great cool, when the frosting becomes a little fudgier. It even tastes great if you store it in the fridge and eat it later, still cold…the frosting gets really fudgy then!

I shared my cake with my coworkers, and everyone loved it, so I’m sure you will, too! Here’s how my cake turned out…

…and here’s the recipe so you can make one of your own!

COCA-COLA CAKE from Southern Living Home Cooking Basics

Makes a 9×13 cake

  • 1 cup Coca-Cola
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa (unsweetened baking cocoa)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • Coca-Cola Frosting (see recipe below)
  • 3/4 cups chopped pecans, toasted, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine Coca-Cola and buttermilk; set aside.

Beat butter at low speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar; beat until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat at low speed until blended.

Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cola mixture; beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended.

Stir in marshmallows. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13×9-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes. Pour Coca-Cola Frosting over warm cake; garnish with toasted pecans, if desired (I didn’t toast my pecans, and it was good that way, too).

My Notes: If you stick a toothpick in the center of the cake to test for doneness, it will probably come out almost clean; that’s OK for it to be like that–I think it has something to do with the marshmallows being in the batter.
And when my cake came out of the oven, it was very bumpy because of the marshmallows…not to worry though–the frosting covers the bumps! 

COCA-COLA FROSTING (Makes 2 1/4 cups)

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup Coca-Cola
  • 3 Tablespoons cocoa (unsweetened baking cocoa)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan oven medium heat, stirring until butter melts. Remove from heat; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla.

When all frosting ingredients are well-blended, pour immediately over cake. If garnishing with  chopped pecans, sprinkle those on right after pouring the frosting on the cake, since the frosting sets quickly.

This cake is a new favorite of mine! Have you ever made or tasted a Coca-Cola cake?

Chocolate Malt Cake Pops from 175 Best Babycakes® Cake Pops Recipes

I think cake pops are cute and fun, so I was looking forward to reviewing this new cookbook, 175 Best Babycakes® Cake Pops Recipes (softcover) by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss. Moore and Wyss are expert food consultants who develop recipes and test products like the Babycakes® Cake Pop Maker, which is designed to make cake pop-making quick and easy. The recipes in this book were especially created to be used with this cake pop maker, and there are all kinds of fun flavors you can make! The cake pops featured on the cover give you an idea of the many ways you can decorate cake pops. There are more ideas and some colorful photos inside to inspire you, too, along with helpful cake pop-making and decorating instructions. This book shows you how to do basic and not-so-basic things like coating the cake pops, decorating with sprinkles, adding decorative swirls and spirals, triple-dipping or marbleizing the pops, and making simple faces. Some of the yummy-sounding recipes include Caramel Cake Pops, Cream-Filled Chocolate Cake Pops, Chocolate Truffle Cake Pops, Root Beer Cake Pops, Almond Cream Cake Pops, and Classic Red Velvet Cake Pops.

The Babycakes® Cake Pop Maker not only makes cake pops–you can also bake doughnuts (or what many of us call donut holes), mini Ebelskivers, and cute little round biscuit and muffin bites! These would be great for brunch, showers, or parties. There are even recipes for savory nibbles you can serve as appetizers. So you can make lots of yummy things with this handy appliance!

If you’re not familiar with the Babycakes® Cake Pop Maker, here’s what it looks like…

It bakes 12 cake pops at a time in just 4 to 6 minutes, so it would be especially great for using in the summer months–you wouldn’t have to use your oven and heat up the kitchen. I don’t have this cake pop maker myself yet, but looking at all these recipes and ideas makes me want to try it out! If I had a cake pop maker, I’d probably try the Chocolate Malt Cake Pops first. So I thought I’d share that recipe with you. If you don’t have a cake pop maker, you might be able to make cupcakes with this recipe…I don’t know that for sure, but I don’t see why you couldn’t!

CHOCOLATE MALT CAKE POPS from 175 Best Babycakes® Cake Pop Recipes

Makes 26 to 28 cake pops

  • 2/3 cup (150 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) chocolate malted milk powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 ounces (90 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75 mL) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 mL) milk
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped chocolate malt candies
  • Nonstick baking spray
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, chocolate malted milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Place semisweet chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe glass bowl. Microwave on High in 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until melted. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat brown sugar and granulated sugar into melted chocolate mixture. Add egg and beat well. Add egg yolk and beat well. Beat in vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in one-third of the flour mixture. Beat in sour cream, then another one-third of the flour mixture, then milk. Beat in the remaining flour mixture. Stir in chopped candies.
  4. Spray cake pop wells with nonstick baking spray. Fill each well with about 1 Tablespoon (15 mL) batter. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer cake pops to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  5. If desired, attach sticks to cake pops.

TO DECORATE: Dip cake pops in melted chocolate candy melts, then immediately sprinkle with additional finely chopped chocolate malt candies. If not attaching sticks to cake pops, use the fork tool (or fork) to dip the cake pops, then place them on a wire rack over a sheet of foil or waxed paper to set.

Excerpted from 175 Best Cake Pops Recipes by Kathy Moore and Roxanne Wyss © 2012 Robert Rose Inc.www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Have you made cake pops before? What’s your favorite flavor?

Little Lamb Cake Balls from Sugarlicious and a Giveaway!

If you like making fun and creative treats, you’ll have to check out the new book Sugarlicious: 50 Cute and Clever Treats for Every Occasion (softcover). I’m excited to tell you that I have a copy of this book to give away, too! I’ll let you know how you can enter the drawing to win the book at the end of this post. But first, I’ll tell you a little more about Sugarlicious and share a cute recipe from it called Little Lamb Cake Balls.

Author and professional cookie decorator Meaghan Mountford (she also has a blog called The Decorated Cookie) includes 50 easy-to-follow recipes for any party or occasion in her book, which is also filled with colorful photos and illustrated step-by-step directions (all photos shown in this post are from Sugarlicious). Some of the fun treats you can make include Milkshake Cake Pops, Pink Princess Cupcakes, Sprinkle Marshmallow Pops, and these cute Barnyard Animal Snack Cakes

There are some fun Easter treats I found in Sugarlicious, too–Bunny Cookie Pops and Easter Egg Painted Cookies

And I thought these Little Lamb Cake Balls were perfect for Easter, too…

Here’s the recipe if you want to try them out!

LITTLE LAMB CAKE BALLS (from Sugarlicious)

Makes 48 to 60 cake balls

  • Cake Balls*
  • black edible writer
  • Jordan almonds
  • shredded coconut
  • white candy melts**
  • mini pretzel sticks
  • wax paper
  1. Follow the recipe for cake balls (see below) to bake your cake, prepare your cake balls and chill.
  2. Make 2 black dots for eyes with the edible writer on the Jordan almonds and set aside.
  3. Pour coconut on a plate and set aside. Melt candy melts according to the instructions. For each lamb, break 2 pretzel sticks in half so each pretzel piece is about 1 3/4 inches long. Dip the ends of the 4 pretzel pieces in the melted candy melts; then insert them into the base of a chilled cake ball. For best results, return the cake ball to the freezer for 5 minutes to help set. Holding 2 of the pretzel legs, dip the cake ball in the melts and immediately roll in coconut.  Stand the cake ball on the pretzel legs on a piece of wax paper.
  4. Use a dab of melted candy melts to adhere the Jordan almond head to the lamb.  Let dry.

*To make cake balls, bake a 9×13″ sheet cake using the recipe from Sugarlicious on page 25, your favorite recipe, or a box of store-bought cake mix. Let the cake cool completely and crumble into a large bowl. Stir in 1 1/3 cups of buttercream frosting or use 3/4 of a container of store-bought frosting and mix well, pressing the cake and frosting together with the back of a spoon or, preferably, mixing them with your hands until you have a texture that is wet, smooth and able to be formed.

Between the palms of your hands, roll the mixture into balls 1 1/2 inches in diameter and place them on a baking tray lined with wax paper. Freeze for fifteen minutes, no longer. Move the tray of cake balls to the refrigerator to keep them firm but not frozen. Work with a few cake balls at a time, while keeping the remainder in the fridge.

**For helpful tips and instructions on melting chocolate and candy melts, see the Techniques section in Sugarlicious on page 34).

NOTE: Store-bought cake mix will make about 48 cake pops; the recipe in Sugarlicious makes  about 60; amounts for other recipes may vary.

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED–Winner is Ann W, comment #13!

THE GIVEAWAY!

Here’s how you can enter to win a copy of Sugarlicious:

First entry: Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite Easter treat.

Bonus entries: Leave an additional comment telling me you are a new Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest  follower, or new subscriber. If you’re already subscribing or following, leave a comment telling me you’re already following and how. If you want to follow more than one way, you can leave a comment for each way you are following.

Be sure to leave all  your comment entries on this post–the random drawing winner will be chosen only from the comments on this post!

 The giveaway is open to residents of the continental U.S. and Canada. The giveaway will end on Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at midnight (CST). Winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org and announced the following evening.

Linked to Sweets for a Saturday.

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake from 300 Best Potato Recipes

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I’m a big fan of potatoes, whether they’re baked, scalloped, fried, roasted, mashed…you name it! That’s why I was interested in reviewing 300 Best Potato Recipes: A Complete Cook’s Guide (Softcover). Written by author and food journalist Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh, the book is filled with lots of delicious recipes for fixing potatoes in more ways than you could ever imagine!

At the beginning of the book, there’s a section called The Spud From All Angles where you’ll learn about the history, legend, and lore of potatoes, as well as helpful tips on buying and cooking potatoes, growing your own potatoes, and storing potatoes. Another chapter, A World of Potatoes, tells you about the many different types of potatoes and includes a handy Potato Glossary. I had no idea there were so many kinds of potatoes!

After looking over this information, I browsed through the first recipe chapter called Top Twenty Classics, starting off with Classic Mash Deluxe, Garlic and Chive Mash, and Big Cheese Mash. As you browse through the other chapters, you’ll find many other tasty potato dishes including:

  • Soups (Potato Soup with Pesto Cream, St. Patrick’s Day Potato Chowder)
  • Salads (Baked Potato Salad with Blue Cheese Drizzle, Lemon Potato Salad with Shrimp)
  • Appetizers (Florentine Potato Cakes, Spiced Potato Ribbons)
  • Snacks, Small Plates & Light Meals (Four Cheese & Onion Jacket Potato, Rustic Country Potato Tart)
  • Sensational Spuds on the Side (Danish Sugar-Browned Potatoes, French Potato Galette)
  • Main Courses with Meat, Poultry, Fish & Seafood (Honest-to-Goodness Shepherd’s Pie, Potato Dumplings with Chicken & Tarragon Cream)
  • Vegetarian Mains (World’s Best Vegetable Burger, Sweet Potato & Sage Frittata)
  • Breads, Biscuits, Scones, Griddle Cakes & More (Cheddar & Onion Potato Bread, All-American Potato Pancakes)
  • Desserts & Confections (Carolina Sweet Potato Pie, Dark Chocolate & Orange Potato Cheesecake)

It was hard to decide what to try first, with so many recipes to choose from, but I settled on the Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake with Pineapple & Coconut & Cream Cheese Icing. If you like carrot cake, you’ll enjoy this cake. My friend Susan tasted this and said she actually liked it better than carrot cake! It’s wonderfully moist and the cream cheese icing  is very yummy. The recipe says to frost the top and sides of the cake, but I just decided to frost the top so I could put extra frosting between the layers–I think it looks nice that way. Sprinkling coarsely chopped walnuts on top of the cake would be a nice finishing touch, too–I didn’t think of that until after I took my photos!

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You can also make this cake in a 9 x 13″ pan. It’s so yummy it’s hard to stop eating it! Here’s the recipe…

SWEET POTATO CINNAMON CAKE (from 300 Best Potato Recipes)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup canned crushed pineapple, well-drained
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts* (see toasting tips below–I didn’t toast mine, but I’m sure they’re great toasted!)

CREAM CHEESE ICING

  • 10 ounces plain cream cheese (not light or whipped), softened
  • 5 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans or one 13 x 9-inch cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper also sprayed with nonstick cooking spray (I used my 9-inch round non-stick cake pans and greased and floured them well, instead of using the spray and parchment paper; the cakes came out very easily).

CakeIn a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice until blended. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and oil until blended. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir flour mixture into sugar mixture until blended and no traces of flour are visible. Stir in sweet potatoes, pineapple, coconut, and walnuts.

Evenly divide batter between prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto rack. Let cool completely.

Icing: Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar about 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until just firm enough to spread. Transfer one cake layer to a cake stand or platter. Spread some of the icing over  top, smoothing to the edges. Top with second cake layer, then ice top and sides of whole cake (as I mentioned earlier, I decided to just frost between the layers and on top–so choose whatever way you like best!).

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Tips on toasting walnuts: Toasting the nuts in a dry skillet gives them a nice crispness; just take care not to burn them, as they take very little time to toast. Add the nuts to a skillet placed over medium heat, and cook, stirring for 6 to 8 minutes or until fragrant. You can also oven-toast nuts on a baking sheet in a 400-degree oven for just a few minutes, but watch them carefully so they don’t burn.

Enjoy making this cake…you’ll definitely enjoy eating it! :)

Lizzie’s Sour Cream Pound Cake from At My Grandmother’s Knee

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A new cookbook, At My Grandmother’s Knee, which I had the pleasure of reviewing, celebrates food, family, and warm memories. It’s filled with 166 treasured recipes shared by Southern women who inherited them from their grandmothers, along with special memories about the grandmothers who made these delicious comfort foods. Author Faye Porter describes the book as part cookbook and part history book. “It captures the love and guidance that so many of us soaked up from watching and listening to and asking questions of our Southern grandmothers as we helped them prepare a meal or bake for some special occasion,” says Porter. “Recipes allow us to pass on the love and legacy of a grandma so she can be remembered, revered, and celebrated for generations to come.”

The nostalgic-looking book includes full-color photos of many of the recipes. There’s a wonderful variety of Southern classics to choose from–Biscuits ‘n’ Chocolate Gravy, Nanny’s Hash Brown Casserole, Southern-Style Chili, Sweet Slaw, Spicy Sweet Potaotes, Dixie Meat Loaf, Creamed Chicken on Cornbread, Peach Cream Pie, Lemon Tea Cakes, Grandmother Kelly’s Chocolate Pie…and so many other great-sounding recipes! I decided to try Lizzie’s Sour Cream Pound Cake because I love pound cake and had not made one yet with sour cream…it sounded so rich and good!

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Well, it was very rich and very good–dense and moist like a classic pound cake should be. I guess we should expect no less from a grandma-tested recipe! :) Here’s Lizzie’s recipe, along with a special memory from the cookbook:

LIZZIE’S SOUR CREAM POUND CAKE (From At My Grandmother’s Knee)

Arlene Raines (Goodlettsville, Tennessee) shares that her grandma, Mary Elizabeth Redding Hughes, was affectionately known as Lizzie. “Lizzie and her husband owned and worked a 300-acre farm in Naylor, Georgia,” Arlene says. “She was the quintessential countrywoman who raised her children, worked the fields, cooked for the farmhands, sewed her children’s clothing, and kept the house. My grandmother was a wonderful cook and one of my favorite things was this pound cake. The entire farmhouse would smell wonderful while it was baking, and the cake only became more delicious each day that it sat under a glass cover on the kitchen table. Grandma Lizzie died in 1986 at the age of ninety-seven, but she is remembered in a specialway each year at our family reunion because her pound cake is always on the menu.”

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-pirpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 8-ounce container sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Add 1 egg at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat thoroughly. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and lemon extract and beat thoroughly. The secret is to beat lots and lots of air into the batter. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (NOTE: my cake was done sooner-in 1 hour and 20 minutes, so you may want to check yours sooner, too). Cool before slicing.

This tastes great served with fresh fruit, like some nice juicy strawberries!

Now I’m ready to try the Spicy Sweet Potatoes…you can never have too much comfort food, right? :)

Linked to Tasty TuesdayRednesday, Strut Your Stuff, Full Plate Thursday, Show Off Your Stuff, Sweet Treats, Foodie Friday, I’m Lovin It.