Kat's Cookbook

Archive for the category “Recipes”

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$

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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

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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:

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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

Directions:

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

Directions:

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

Directions:

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. 

Viola!

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

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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!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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

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Cupcake:

  • 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

Directions:

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. 

Filling:

  • 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.

Assembly:

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

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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!

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

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Ingredients:

  • 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

Directions:

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. 

Update: brownie sale!

At one point in the past, I had made a box of brownies for a friend of mine. He and his parents LOVED them. Upon hearing that I was making baked goods for charity, his mother requested another box. She offered to pay 10$ as she really enjoys giving to a good cause. 10$! That’s quite a bit! Anyway, I made said brownies and their family enjoyed them greatly. I wasn’t able to take a decent picture of the brownies themselves, so I am including a picture and a link from the original recipe which I found on a blog called Confessions of a Cookbook Queen. All of her recipes are fantastic!

Donation total: 25$

Caramel filled brownies

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This recipe was a great find for me as I had always struggled with adding caramel to brownies. The secret is to use Wilky Way Simply Caramel candy bars or any other caramel filled candy and sandwich it in between two layers of brownie. This recipe calls for two boxes of brownie mix. I have tried it with brownie mix and homemade brownie batter and both work just fine. The brownie mix is a bit easier as it pours and spreads much better than brownie batter which is thick and more like dough. 

Ingredients with brownie mix:

  • 2 boxes Duncan Hines fudge brownie mix or another similar kind
  • I large bag or 2 smaller bags of caramel filled chocolate candy

Directions:

Mix one box of brownie mix according to directions. Pour into a 9×13 inch pan and bake for 20 minutes. While baking, unwrap all of the candy. Take the brownies out of the oven and place the candy in a spaced out in a single layer on top. Bake for five minutes. Take out of the oven and smoosh the candy down to create a solid layer of caramel and chocolate. Mix the second box of brownie mix and pour on top. Bake for another 35 to 45 minutes until fully cooked. 

In order to replace the brownie mix with homemade batter, just substitute a double recipe of your favorite brownies! Make one recipe and press the batter into the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until slightly baked, and follow the same instructions above. Press the second recipe of the batter on top and bake until fully cooked. 

I will post a recipe for my favorite homemade brownies sometime soon!

Update: muffin sale!

My dad is an elementary school teacher. He had the idea of putting some small, reasonably priced desserts into the staff room with a jar for collecting change. This worked out great! I decided to make something healthy: whole wheat pumpkin muffins with walnuts and dark chocolate chips. I priced them at 50¢ a piece.  We sold 10 of them, with a 5$ addition to my donation total. My dad said that everyone who ate them said they were tasty! I think I may start doing this once a week, perhaps on Wednesdays? I have a recipe for brownies in mind for next week! Or perhaps I should try oatmeal cookies? The great thing about this recipe is that it can make either pumpkin muffins or pumpkin bread! I even made a pumpkin cake out of this one time. It’s incredibly moist and versatile!

Donation total: 15$

Whole wheat pumpkin, walnut, chocolate chip muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat baking flower
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/3 cup water or milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar plus 1/ 3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan or line 20 baking cups. Whisk together: flour, flax, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, grated or ground nutmeg, and ground cloves. Combine in a small bowl: milk, vanilla. Beat in a large bowl until fluffy: butter, sugar & brown sugar. Then beat in eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin and beat on low speed just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture, beating on low speed or stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and let cool completely before serving. Tastes great served with butter! 

My first cake sale!

I sold my first cake this week! It was purchased by the brother of a friend of mine. He offered me 20$ (jeez!), but I decided to only sell it to him for ten. 20$ seems a little pricey. He requested a lemon cake, which happens to be my favorite kind of cake to bake (and eat!). I love lemon cake for the moist, thick texture that fills up your mouth with a warm and lemony aroma. He did say it tasted and looked like an expensive cake, which made me happy. I’m glad he enjoyed it! This is my first earning towards an eventual donation to my local animal shelter. I couldn’t be more happy about it!
Donation total: 10$

Lemon bundt cake with lemon glaze
ImageIngredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1  teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  baking powder
  • 3  cups  granulated sugar
  • 1 whole lemon, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1  cup  plain full-fat Greek yogurt (sour cream works too!)
  • 1  cup  confectioners’ sugar
  • (I also throw in a small package of instant lemon pudding mix to add moisture, but this can be omitted depending on preference!)

Directions:
Heat oven to 325° F. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in 4 tablespoons of the lemon juice, then the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Reduce mixer speed to low. Add half the flour mixture, then the yogurt/sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix!).
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 65 to 75 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 1 of the remaining tablespoons of lemon juice until smooth, adding the remaining lemon juice as necessary to create a thick, but pourable glaze. For some reason, no matter how many times I attempt to glaze a lemon cake, the glaze just soaks right in. I’ll work on perfecting this technique in the future! Add lemon slices or powdered sugar for garnish. Voila! 

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