Kat's Cookbook

Archive for the category “Progress”

Update: overpaid for cookies!

One of my father’s staff members at the school that he teaches at had really enjoyed the peanut butter cup cookies that I had made for the teachers a month or two ago. She ordered a batch for herself that she could freeze and eat over time. She overpaid me by double, offering me 20$ for the cause! I am so grateful!

Donation total: 141.50$


The recipe for these cookies can be found here!


Update: chocolate covered strawberry cake!

I was finally able to try making a chocolate covered strawberry cake! It was great fun. I apologize for their poor quality, my DSLR wasn’t up and running that day. The lady that ordered it wanted a special cake to share with her family on a rare night when they all eat dinner together. She said it was great! And she ordered about 25$ worth of more desserts for later this week! I am still so excited to be doing this. I’m having a great time!

Donation total: 121.50$

Chocolate covered strawberry cake




  • 4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 2 1/4 cups white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line two 9 inch round cake pans. The best way to do this is to trace the bottom of the pan and cut out a circle that fits right on the bottom. Remember to grease both the bottom of the pan and the top of the paper. 

Place the cocoa powder and chopped chocolate into a bowl. Pour the boiling water over the chocolate mixture and stir until melted. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a stand mixer (you could use a hand mixer as well, but I’ve found it’s difficult with this recipe), beat the butter until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in the sugar until mixed. Add the eggs one at a time until completely combined. Pour in the melted chocolate and vanilla extract and beat until combined. (Now is the perfect time to stick your face into the bowl and smell the wonderful chocolatey buttery sugary mixture). Add the milk and the flour mixture gradually until incorporated. Do not over mix!

Divide the batter evenly into both pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool for about 10 minutes and remove the cakes, allowing them to cool on a rack. 

Note: I’ve used made this cake using both the above recipe (which I found on the Joy of Baking website) and using a box mix. Both taste great, I can’t even decide which is better. The recipe and ingredients that I came up with for the box mix are below:


  • 1 box Duncan Hines devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup melted butter to replace the oil in the directions
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 small box of instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 spoonful of sour cream or greek yogurt
  • A small splash of vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Follow the previous instructions to grease and line two 9 inch cake pans.

Melt the butter and let sit until cool. Whisk the water, melted butter and eggs together in a small bowl. Combine the egg mixture, the cake mix, cocoa powder, pudding, yogurt/sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl. With a hand mixer, (this isn’t completely necessary, but it makes the batter fluffier than if mixed with a whisk) mix all ingredients until combined and fluffy. This takes about two minutes.

Pour evenly into prepared cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs on it. Let cool completely.

This recipe comes out very moist. Be wary of the layers breaking. If they do, just fit them together during the assembly process. No one will ever notice. 

Frosting ingredients:

  • 5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Melt the chopped chocolate in the microwave by heating and stirring at 20 second intervals. You can also use a double boiler, but I find the microwave method quicker. Put the chocolate, confectioners sugar, milk, salt and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment. Add the softened butter in pieces until fully combined. Raise speed and beat for several minutes until spreading consistency. 

Ganache ingredients:

  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate (I just use chocolate chips)
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter


Heat the whipping cream and butter, either in a double boiler or in the microwave, until just boiling and steamy. Pour over the chocolate and let sit for a minute in order for it to melt. Stir until smooth. 

Strawberries ingredients:

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate (again, I use chocolate chips)
  • 12 (give or take) medium, fresh strawberries, patted clean. I made an extra batch of strawberries to be serve in addition to the ones on top of the cake


In a double boiler, melt the chocolate until smooth and thin. Dip the strawberries one at a time, placing them on a lined baking sheet. Let cool completely. This should only take an hour or two.

I’ve tried recipes where additional ingredients are added to the chocolate dip. I’ve found that just plain old melted chocolate works and tastes the best. 

Assembly (Phew, finally!):

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand or the plate that you plan for it to be served from. If the cake is going into a box, I advice putting a cardboard cake round under the bottom layer when cooling. This allows for easy transport after assembly. Glob some frosting onto the middle of the cake layer. Spread thickly until the layer is covered, then carefully place the second layer on top, making sure that the two layers are even with each other. Frost the top of the second layer similarly. Frost the sides of the cake until everything looks smooth. While the ganache is still runny, cover the top layer and push to the sides of the cake, allowing it to drip down. Place the chocolate covered strawberries in a patter on top of the cake. 


If you are planning to refrigerate the cake over night, make sure it is airtight in order to avoid drying. Do not place the strawberries on top of the cake the night before, as the juices from the strawberries will escape and make the top of your cake runny.


Update: another lemon cake!

A friend of mine named Alex purchased a cake to share with his Theory of Knowledge class. The class is part of a rigorous academic program at our school. He and everyone else in the class loved it! The cake that I made is a variation of a lemon cake that I sold a while back. Rather than a plain lemon cake with lemon glaze, I added blackberry glaze and fresh berries. The blackberry on lemon not only made an exciting color contrast, but the flavor combination was very rich and pleasant.

Donation total: 101.50$

Lemon blackberry cake


My first recipe for lemon cake can be found here. I’ve been experimenting with lemon cakes recently and I’ve discovered an easy, simple cake recipe that produces a wonderfully moist and rich cake. The recipe for the simple lemon cake can be found bellow!


  • 1 box Duncan Hines lemon cake mix
  • 1 box lemon pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 and 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • A heaping spoonful of greek yogurt or sour cream


Heat your oven to 350 degrees and butter or grease a 12 cup bundt pan. 

Whisk together the pudding mix and the cake mix until well combined. Using a hand mixer, add in all of the wet ingredients until incorporated. Mix on high for 2 or 3 minutes until batter is light and fluffy. Pour batter evenly into bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until cake does not appear wet and a toothpick comes out covered in crumbs (not batter!). Let cool for 5-10 minutes and flip pan upside down to remove cake while it’s still warm. Cool completely before adding glaze and/or fruit. 

Voila! Everyone loves this recipe. They would never guess that it was made from cake mix!

Update: cupcake sale!

I sold some cupcakes this past weekend! My friend Anna, who loves chocolate, fell in love with a batch of cupcakes that I made a few months ago. I was inspired by a recipe found on Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. She asked me to make them again for her and her family! They are an oreo bottomed chocolate cupcake with cream filling and cookies and cream buttercream frosting. The pictures below are of the mint oreo version, but I made a plain oreo version as well. I will include the recipes for both!

Donation total: 86.50$

Oreo cupcakes




  • 1/2 cup  dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 cup boiling hot water
  • 1 1/3 cups all all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Pre-heat the oven 375 degrees. Line 16 muffin cups and place an oreo at the bottom of each.

Stir the cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl until dissolved and let cool. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In an electric mixer or with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs and the vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Add the cocoa mixture and stir until smooth.

Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full and bake for 16-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for a few hours. 


  • Half a jar of marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • If making normal oreo cupcakes, a few drops of vanilla extract. If making mint cupcakes, a few drops of peppermint extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

In a small bowl, stir the butter, extract, and marshmallow fluff until smooth. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar until the mixture thickens.

Cookies and cream frosting:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or peppermint extract depending on the flavor of the cupcakes
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon hot water
  • 10 crushed oreos, either mint or plain

Beat the butter and extract in a stand mixer until smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. Add in the hot water and beat until fluffy. Fold in the oreos.


Take each cupcake and cut out a small well from the center. Fill with the cream mixture. Put the frosting in a piping bag with a large star tip. Pipe as high as desired and top with another half oreo.

Update: popular brownies!

I haven’t updated in a while! That being said, I’ve had a pretty great baking week! On Tuesday, I sent a large box of raspberry dark chocolate brownies with my dad to put in the staff room at the school where he teaches. They all sold! Well, 29 of them sold. I’m pretty sure my dad ate one. At 50¢ a piece, that’s 14.50$ added to the jar. Coincidentally, two other people ordered the same brownies from my Facebook page for Valentine’s Day! One girl ordered a 5$ box and a second girl also ordered a 5$ box in addition to a 10$ box of raspberry thumbprint cookies (will post the recipe in a few days!).

Donation total: 76.50$

Dark chocolate raspberry brownies



  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flower
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup raspberry jam


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray an 8×8 inch baking pan

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Finally, stir in the flour and salt.

Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with the back of a spoon or an offset spatula. Drop dollops or raspberry jam on the surface and run a knife through to create the marble effect. Bake for 30-35 minutes. It might seem a little underdone, but it will be perfect once cooled!

Progress: facebook page + cookie sale!

Last night I made my first sale from facebook! I made a facebook page for my charity and a girl ordered a box of cookies within about an hour of its creation! She ordered the same peanut butter cup cookies that I posted a few days ago. She loved them! There are two other girls who are interested in purchasing as well; one is buying a box of dark chocolate raspberry brownies and the other one is planning on purchasing a box of raspberry thumbprint cookies for Valentine’s day! I’m planning on drizzling them with a bit of chocolate to make them pretty. I think that this page will boost my business, so far it has 63 likes. I posted some pictures of past desserts that I have made and sold, as well as a list of items that people can purchase. Here is the list so far:

Normal cakes-10$
-Lemon cake with lemon glaze
-Chocolate cake with dark chocolate ganache
-Pumpkin cake (with or without chocolate chips) with brown butter glaze
-White chocolate cake with vanilla fudge glaze

Special cakes-15$ (Fruit and other additions cost a bit more to add!)
-Lemon cake with blackberries and blackberry glaze
-Chocolate covered strawberry cake with frosting and ganache
-Butter pecan cake with caramel frosting
-White chocolate covered pretzel cake with vanilla bean frosting

Cupcakes-10$ per box (24, give or take)
-Triple chocolate cupcakes
-Chocolate toffee cupcakes
-White chocolate raspberry cupcakes
-Cookies and creme (mint or plain) cupcakes

Brownies-5$ for a normal box (about 15 pieces), 10$ for a large box (30 pieces)
-Chocolate chip brownies, with or without walnuts
-Peanut butter fudge brownies
-Dark chocolate raspberry brownies
-Toffee blondies

Cookies-5$ for a normal box (about 15 pieces), 10$ for a large box (30 pieces)
-Chocolate chip cookies
-Oatmeal raisin/cranberry cookies
-Peanut butter cup cookies
-M&M cookies
-Raspberry thumbprint cookies (this makes a lot of smaller cookies)

Scones-7.50$ per box (about 15 pieces), can be sugar coated or glazed upon request
-Chocolate chip/white chocolate chip
-Banana nutella

Breads-7.50$ per loaf, sliced or cut into pieces upon request
-Pumpkin bread, with or without chocolate chips/walnuts
-Banana bread, with or without nutella
-Chocolate chip bread

I’m planning on adding/revising the list as I go!

Donation total: 42$

Update: cookie sale!

Today I sent another box of treats with my dad to put into the staff room at his school. This week I made triple peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. Included were semi-sweet chocolate chips, a broken up milk chocolate bar, and chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups I sent 24 of them at 50¢ each and all of them sold! 12$! I added it to my jar of donation money and I’m happy to report that it has gotten heavier. I included a picture of a different variation of the same recipes that I made for a friend’s birthday last month that included semi-sweet chocolate chips, a broken up milk chocolate bar, and whole Hershey’s kisses.

Donation total: 37$

Giant chocolate chunk/peanut butter chocolate chip cookies





  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (let cool before adding to mixture)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 cups chocolate chips/pieces (I’ve used all kinds!)
  • 1 heaping spoonful of peanut butter if desired


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer, mix together the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl until completely combined.  Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla then beat again until completely combined. Set aside. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl containing the wet ingredients and mix until just barely combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. 

Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the cookie dough and shape lightly into a ball. Place on lined cookie sheet and flatten out a bit. Make sure to space them apart. I usually fit 6 cookies on a sheet.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until cookies begin to turn lightly brown on the edges. They may seem too soft when they come out of the oven, but when they cool they are perfect and crisp on the edges with a nice fluffy center. 

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