Friday, August 24, 2012

Strawberry-Banana Trifle

I made this once, and it was! Seriously, it's not too heavy, and made with fruit {Which makes it healthier, right}, and it makes a TON! Try it and you won't be disappointed. {PS...Mallory's favorite}
Strawberry-Banana Trifle
Photo credit to
Strawberry-Banana Trifle
2 bananas, peeled
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons oil
1 box (18.25 ounces) white cake mix
Filling and Fruit:
2 boxes (3 ounces each) cook-and-serve vanilla or banana pudding mix {I used instant!}
3-1/2 cups milk
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
2 cups sliced strawberries, plus more for garnish
1 cup heavy cream, whipped with
1 tablespoon sugar

Heat oven to 350 degree F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. Set aside.

Cake: In a mixer, combine 1-1/3 cups water, the bananas, egg whites and oil. Mix until mostly smooth, about 2 minutes. Add cake mix. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then increase speed to high and beat 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pan and bake at 350 degree F for 33 to 35 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then, using foil, lift cake from pan and cool completely.

Filling and Fruit: Meanwhile, cook pudding mix with milk for 15 to 20 minutes over medium heat, until thickened and bubbly. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 30 minutes. {or just make instant}

Trim edges from cooled cake. Cut in half, then cut one half into cubes (about 20). Place in a trifle dish or bowl and press slightly to compress. Spoon 2 cups pudding over cake. Top with 1 sliced banana and 1 cup of the sliced strawberries. Cut second cake half into cubes and continue layering cake, pudding, bananas and strawberries. Top with heavy cream. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight. {The longer, the better}

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from

Peanut Butter "Eggs"

So, it's no secret that I love peanut butter. You can ask my roommates with whom I used to eat spoonfuls of peanut butter and jam/honey. Or my mother in law who gave me a huge jar of peanut butter before we even got married.
I love reese's "eggs" more than any other type of reese's. They are greasy and delicious. And these homemade ones were ridiculously close.
Photo credit to
The Whimsical Princess’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
2-3 tablespoons milk
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips{We used milk and I'm sure it would be just as good with semisweet}
1 tablespoon Shortening

Mix together the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and butter. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time until it becomes a nice workable dough{I didn't add any milk, it was perfect}. It will be just like play dough, it will be really easy to work with. Form the dough into egg shapes, and place in the freezer for about an hour.

Place the chocolate chips and shortening in a glass measuring cup. Microwave 1 minute at a time stirring in between until completely melted.

Dip each egg in the melted chocolate and place on waxed paper until set. (I use a skewer and then slide the dipped egg of and cover the hole)

Once they are set you can trim any excess chocolate off that may pool at the base with a pairing knife to make them look pretty. You could also decorate them with royal icing and make a really special Easter treat.

Recipe Source: The Whimsical Princess

Loaded PB Cup Chocolate Cookies just need a cookie with tons of chocolate, peanut butter, and fat. This is that cookie. So heavy, and SO delicious. The cookie dough was awesome, too.
Photo credit to
Loaded Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies.
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup Reese’s Pieces {I didn't use these and it was still awesome}
1 package mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, cut into halves and frozen (the original recipe says to freeze the cups and then cut them into halves but I had major issues with this – when I froze them whole and then tried to cut them, it was a disaster – the mini cups broke into a million pieces, so my suggestion would be to gently cut them into halves and THEN freeze them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, and baking soda; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, and Reese’s Pieces (this is best done by hand so the shells of the Reese’s Pieces don’t get broken).

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat liner. Push one peanut butter cup half into the center of each ball of dough. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes (I baked mine about 11 minutes). Let cool for 1 or 2 minutes on sheet before removing, or they will fall apart.

{Then devour and try hard to not gain 15 pounds on the spot.}

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Peach Crisp

Simple and delicious desserts are my favorite. Less time baking, more time eating yummy!
Crisps are awesome because you get hot/cold and sweet/tangy all at the same time. Perf!
Photo credit to
Peach Crisp
6-8 medium peaches, peeled and sliced into thin slices
2-3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest (or a few drops of lemon juice will do)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup white flour
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats, uncooked
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
8 tablespoons slightly softened butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix first 4 ingredients until blended thoroughly. Spray a 2.5 qt baking dish with cooking spray and add peaches. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

While the fruit is baking in the oven, add flour, oats, sugar, cinnamon and butter to a mixing bowl. Mix ingredients with your fingers until crumbly. Once the fruit has cooked 20 minutes, remove from oven and sprinkle the crumble evenly over the top of the peaches. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes longer. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. {Ice cream, ice cream!}

Recipe Source: Mrs. Harding Cooks

Fried Ice Cream

Photo credit to

Now, call me blonde, crazy, or stupid, but I thought this stuff was actually fried. Maybe some of it is, but any that I've had has NOT actually been fried.
This stuff is easy...and delicious. Especially with caramel on it. Mmm.

"Fried" Ice Cream

8x8 or 9x9 pan
2 1/2 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
1 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
3/4 cups brown sugar
optional: a few shakes of cinnamon
8 tablespoons real butter (1 stick), melted
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (or one ‘carton’ since they keep shrinking), softened to the consistency of soft serve

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with foil, extending a little over the edges of pan.

Place Rice Krispies, pecans, coconut, and brown sugar in a 9×13 inch pan. Drizzle butter over mixture and combine well (a fork, or clean hands work well.) If desired, sprinkle in a few shakes of ground cinnamon and mix in. Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking time. Remove from oven when toasted and golden brown and let mixture cool completely.

Remove half of crispy mixture and spread remaining half in an even layer on the bottom of pan. Gently spoon softened ice cream on top of mixture. Use a spoon and very gently spread mixture, being careful to not lift up crisp from bottom of pan. Spread ice cream out evenly and then top with remaining crisp mixture. Gently press top crisp into ice cream with hands. Cover pan with plastic or foil and chill until firm (preferably overnight.) When ready to serve, use foil to completely remove ice cream from pan. Slice into squares and serve.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Frozen Pudding Pops

Oh how I love summer. This summer, I was determined to do more fun stuff. One of those...make homemade popsicles! Luckily, I found these recipes and LOVE them! I've realized that you can make any flavor. However, these are some of my favorites!
Photo credit to
Mint-Chocolate Cookie Pudding Pops
1 small box instant chocolate pudding
1 3/4 C half and half
10 Oreo cookies, crushed (about 1 heaping cup)
1/4 t peppermint extract

Blend pudding mix, extract, and half and half in a blender until smooth. Stir in crushed cookies by hand. Place in molds and freeze.
Photo credit to

Strawberries and Cream Pudding Pops
1 small box instant vanilla pudding
1 C milk
6oz vanilla yogurt (strawberry is great too){I used greek...ah-mazing!}
12 medium strawberries (about 1 3/4-2 C roughly chopped)
2-3 T sugar {Definitely didn't need this}

remove stems from berries and pulse with 2 T sugar in a food processor until completely smooth. Taste and add more sugar if needed. You should have just over a cup of puree. Set aside.

In a blender combine pudding, yogurt, and milk and blend until combined. Layer or swirl the pudding mixture with the strawberry mixture in popsicle molds and freeze until solid.

There are a few other flavors on the site, but these are the only ones I've tried. And...yum.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

"Macaroni Grill" Rosemary Bread

Hello, hello. I realize I've taken quite a hiatus, and I don't even have an "official" reason. We've just been so amazingly busy! With fun stuff...but I'm excited for calm...maybe not calm, but "slower".
This is one of my favorite freaking good! The two times I've made it, the two loaves have only lasted about 30 minutes, if that. Its also pretty easy for homemade bread, which is always a plus!
Dip this in oil & vinegar, and you can die happy.
Photo credit to
Macaroni Grill Rosemary Bread
Makes 2 loaves
1 tablespoon instant yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 3/4 – 4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons dried rosemary, chopped and divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Coarse salt for sprinkling

In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric stand mixer if you have one), combine the yeast, sugar and water. If using active dry yeast, let the mixture stand until foaming and bubbly, about 5 minutes. If using instant yeast, proceed with the recipe. Add two cups of the flour, salt and 1 tablespoon of the chopped rosemary. Mix. Continue adding flour, gradually, until a soft dough is formed. Judge the dough based on texture and feel versus how much actual flour you’ve had to add based on the recipe. The dough should be slightly tacky to the touch but should hold it’s shape while still being soft and smooth. Knead the dough by hand or with an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes, adding additional flour only if the dough is overly sticky and not clearing the sides of the bowl.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl and cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, approximately 1-2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. Once doubled, gently deflate the dough and divide in half. Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, a silpat liner or lightly grease with cooking spray. Shape the dough into two smooth, oval shaped loaves and place them on the baking sheet, one on each half of the tray so they have room to rise and bake without touching. Use a brush to slather the melted butter over the top of the loaves. Continue brushing on the butter until it is gone (the loaves will be well-saturated). Sprinkle the remaining chopped rosemary over the top of the loaves, patting down gently to set into the dough, if needed. Cover the loaves with lightly greased plastic wrap and let them rise again until puffy and nearly doubled, about an hour (again, the exact time will depend on temperature so judge the dough by how it looks).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly sprinkle coarse salt over the top of the loaves. Bake the loaves for 18-20 minutes until browned and baked through. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Strawberry-Lime Cream Cake {& Whipped Cream Frosting}

Photo credit to

Yeah, my birthday was last month and...I made this...for myself...because that's how I roll. {Don't worry, this one is the last for the night.}
This recipe is rich in a way that I haven't ever really experienced before...non-chocolatey. Weird. Um, loved it though! I've had this thing for strawberry/lime. You should too. It's a lot of work, but worth it!

Strawberry-Lime Cream Cake
White Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg whites

Strawberry Syrup/Puree:
*You can sub 1 1/2 cups of strawberry jam for the puree* {I think jam would be too sweet}
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Lime Cream:
{I would probably make this much again, but I only used about 2/3 of it!}
4 limes, for 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 envelope (about 2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
4 tablespoons water

For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add buttermilk, butter and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl as needed. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Add the egg whites and beat for 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Pour the batter into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. (I lined the bottom of mine with a parchment circle and greased the top of the parchment circle.) Bake the cakes for 28-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Don’t overbake or the cakes will be dry. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a butter knife and remove the cakes from the pans to cool completely.

For the strawberry puree, combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

For the lime cream, zest and juice the limes into a medium bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup lime juice. Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix well. Add the whipping cream and beat until medium-stiff peaks form. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

For the whipped cream frosting, in a small bowl, place the water and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Let the mixture stand for 3-4 minutes until the gelatin has thickened. Microwave for 20-30 seconds until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is warm. Remove from the microwave and let the mixture cool to room temperature (don’t let it set up!). In a large bowl, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened. While beating slowly, gradually add the cooled gelatin to the whipped cream mixture. Whip at high speed until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cake, slice each cooled cake round in half horizontally to form 4 cake circles. Place one cake layer on a cake plate and spread an even layer of strawberry syrup over the top. Spread a thick layer of lime cream over the jam, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edge as the top cake layers will press the cream out toward the edges. Repeat the same layering process with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer and frost the entire cake with the whipped cream frosting. Garnish with fresh limes and strawberries, if desired. Chill for 1-2 hours before serving to let the cake set up.

Recipe Source: Mel's Kitchen Cafe

Creamy Lime or Lemon Bars

Photo Credit to

Another winner winner chicken dinner. I obviously can't get over the whole dessert/treat thing. I have something like 280 this isn't going to end anytime soon!

Creamy Lime or Lemon Bars
Makes 8x8 or 9x9 pan
{Just substitute the lime for lemon in the recipe...duh}
20 Nilla Wafers, finely crushed
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold real butter
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (you can use 1/3-less fat cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temp (just place eggs in a bowl of warm water for about 10 mins)
2 Tablespoon flour
3 Tablespoon grated lemon peel, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (don’t even think about opening a bottle!)
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Spray lightly with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a bowl, combine Nilla Wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup flour and the brown sugar. Chop butter into small pieces and then cut into crumb mixture with a pastry blender.If you don’t have a pastry blender, just use 2 knives, or even your fingers to break up the butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Press crumb mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 min.

While crust is cooking, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 2 Tbsp. flour, and baking powder; mix well. Blend in 1 Tbsp. lemon zest, and lemon juice and then pour mixture over crust.

Bake 25 to 30 min. or until center is set. Cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight {at least favorite was two days after I made them}. These bars improve with time {totally}. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and remaining 2 Tbsp. grated lemon peel just before cutting into squares to serve. Store leftover squares in refrigerator. (As if you’ll have leftovers!)

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Photo credit to
Oh sweet gooey I love thee. Especially when I can add ice cream. And fudge. And caramel. I pretty much make a dessert for any reason. This reason? We had friends come and eat leftovers. I couldn't leave them without dessert!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
Makes 9" Pie
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust, homemade or store-bought.
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup real butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet or dark works best, you might find milk too sweet) {Semi-sweet was perfect!}
1 cup chopped pecans (you are welcome to make it without nuts) {Although...don't. Love the texture}
Vanilla ice cream, or sweetened whipped cream for serving

Preheat oven to 325° F.

Beat eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Beat in flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Beat in butter. Stir in morsels and nuts. Spoon into pie shell {Its pretty runny...don't worry}.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack or serve slightly warmed. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Strawberry-Lime Shortcakes with Coconut Cream

Photo credit to
LOVE this recipe. Super easy and de-lish. It's basically strawberry shortcake..."island style."

Strawberry-Lime Shortcakes with Coconut Cream
Angelfood or Pound Cake
4 cup sliced fresh strawberries
½ cup white sugar
4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice (about 2 limes)

For the Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
½ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup toasted coconut

Mix sliced strawberries, sugar, and lime juice. Stir well and set aside. Stir occasionally over about 15 minutes. You want the sugar to dissolve and form a light syrup.
For the cream, place whipping cream in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for about one minute. Slowly add in powdered sugar, and both extracts. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
Slice cake and spoon a layer of strawberries on top. Include the lime-syrup! Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and sprinkle with coconut.
This serves about six, but it could be more or less depending on how what size you make them.
{Serve them with a quarter of lime so those that want to can add an extra kick of lime.!}
{Also, use this coconut cream on LOTS of stuff!}

Recipe Source: Our Best Bites

Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting

Photo Credit to
I can't decide if I "wrote" this recipe, or if Martha did. I found a recipe for chocolate cake that referred to a chocolate frosting recipe. However, I didn't love all the bittersweet chocolate (also I didn't have enough!) So I will give you the link for the original and call this my own!!

Cream Cheese Chocolate Frosting
2 1/2+ cups confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/3-1/2 cup sour cream

Mix together sugar, cocoa, and salt in medium bowl.
Beat cream cheese and butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low; gradually add sugar-cocoa mixture, and beat until combined. Pour in chocolate in a slow, steady stream. Add sour cream; beat until combined. {I added more powdered sugar to taste}

Recipe Source: Extremely adapted from Martha Stewart

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

Make these. Right now.
I've already posted this recipe "Snicker style". I like peanut butter even more than caramel and...dang. These are amazing. I made these for L's baby blessing. They were a huge hit!
Sinful, my friends...sinful.
Post image for Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
Photo Credit to Isn't her photography gorgeous?!
Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes
Makes about 24
1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water {I didn't use these-still insanely delicious}
24 Reese’s Miniatures; frozen (this prevents them from disappearing into the batter)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and espresso water mixture. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.

Using a large cookie scoop, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well. Press one frozen Reese’s Miniature into the center of each cupcake.

Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. There will be a small sink hole in the top of the cupcakes from the Reese’s Miniatures, that’s okay - you’ll cover that with frosting. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons heavy cream (if using milk, amount will be less)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.

Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy

Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes and finish with chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups {and make them pretty}

{Note: I would halve the frosting recipe next time because we had SO much leftover, although...I'm not sure if a half recipe would be enough. Your call!}

Recipe Source: My Baking Addiction

{The Best} Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies

I just found out that "pudding cookies" existed, but apparently there are lots of different mix and matches you can do with flavors. Who knew? Anyway...totally a winner. 
Warning: Mallory probably consumed 1/2 of the recipe in cookies. No joke. She couldn't stop.
chocolate chip pudding cookies
Photo Credit to
Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies
Honestly don't know how many it makes...ate them too quickly
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cup chocolate chips {I did less, and I LOVE chocolate chips}

In mixing bowl, cream together sugars, butter, vanilla extract, and vanilla pudding mix. Beat until creamy. Add eggs. Add dry ingredients and stir until well-combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Recipe Source: Mommy Savers

nts: When they're fresh, the outside has a tiny crunch and the inside is gooey and delicious. When you store them, they are the softest cookies I've ever had! 

Homemade Chocolate Cake

Well, hey. My MIL asked me to make a cake for a double birthday party. I thought..."Oh yeah, no problem." Well, of course I decide that I can't just make one out of a box. I must wow and impress. Don't ask me why. So I found this recipe on pinterest and decided to try it, and I'm so glad I did! Even though I got sick and wasn't able to go to the party. My hubby said everyone loved it (and we got the leftovers, which was awesome).
Also, pairing it with this chocolate frosting recipe was genius! (If I do say so myself).
Photo Credit to
Homemade Chocolate Cake
Makes double 9" round pan

Unsalted butter, softened, for pans
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch cocoa powder, plus more for pans
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons safflower {I used light olive} oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans (2 inches deep); dust with cocoa {I omitted this step}. Sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer {Next time, I will also omit the sifting}. Beat on low speed until just combined. Raise speed to medium, and add eggs, buttermilk, water, oil, and vanilla. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes.
Divide batter between pans. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Turn out from pans. Transfer, faceup, to wire racks. Let cool completely.
As you can see from the picture, she did three layers...I followed the recipe and only did two. I wanted a break from the chocolate frosting, so I put marshmallow creme between the layers. It was an ooey gooey mess...but SO yummy!

Recipe Source: Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

CPK BBQ Chicken Pizza

Story time. When I was in college, I went out to eat...probably everyday. I thought I was being healthy at the time because I was exercising. (I now know that I wasn't because I dropped 15 lbs when I got married...I quit going out to eat...hmm?) Point being, I know my restaurants well and which ones are my favorite. And 5 easily. Their pizza is Ahmazing! And this has always been one of my favorites. I was surprisingly impressed with this recipe! You should try it!

Photo Credit to
Pizza Dough

1 teaspoon Instant Or Active Dry Yeast
1-½ cups warm water
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil 

Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water. Let stand for a few minutes.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined, and the dough comes together in a sticky mass.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set it aside for 1 to 2 hours, or store in the fridge until you need it.

To finish the pizza:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (20 oz) bottle of BBQ sauce
Olive oil, for drizzling
Salt, for sprinkling
1 (16 oz) block Mozzarella cheese, sliced thinly
1/2 whole red onion, cut in half and sliced very thin
Chopped cilantro, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Salt chicken breasts on both sides, then place in an ovenproof dish. Pour BBQ sauce over the breasts and turn them over to coat. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until chicken is done. Remove from oven and cut into a fine dice. Set aside.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees.
Roll/stretch out one pizza crust. Lay it on a sheet pan drizzled with olive oil. Drizzle a little olive oil on the crust, then sprinkle on a little salt.
Spoon a couple of tablespoons of extra BBQ sauce on the crust and spread it evenly. Top sauce with half the sliced mozzarella. Sprinkle on half the diced chicken and thinly sliced red onion.
Sprinkle again with a little salt, then bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and toppings are bubbly.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle on plenty of chopped cilantro. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Repeat with other crust and other ingredients, or save for another time.

Recipe Source: Six Sisters' Stuff