I refuse to let the fact that I didn’t get any great pictures of this cake keep me from posting it. I’ve never claimed to be a great photographer (the opposite, really!). It’s easy to get intimidated in this age of food blogging, where everyone wields his or her DSLR with prowess. I’m still using a point-and-shoot (a nice one, though, that I love – I have a Canon G12, similar to this one).
I’d been envisioning this cake for a week or more for some reason. I’m not even a fan of York patties, although I do like other chocolate-mint things. I was picturing more of an actual mint filling for the middle, but I came across this whipped cream and it sounded divine.
The combination is really wonderful, but make sure you have a crowd to feed! Even my whole dorm of high-school boys didn’t finish it off.
one king-sized bag of miniature peppermint patties, chopped
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray, then line with parchment paper and grease again.
In a big mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, oil, and eggs and mix together well. Pour in coffee and stir carefully until incorporated.
Pour batter into pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the whipped cream, with an electric mixer, whisk cream until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and mint extract and beat until stiff peaks form. Place one layer of cake on a plate, then spread with the whipped cream (you may have some left over; you can serve it on top of the cake ... or on your hot chocolate or coffee).
For frosting, melt chocolate chips and butter together in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. (You can do this in a glass bowl over boiling water ... I just like to live on the wild side.) Cool a little bit. Beat in evaporated milk and vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add powdered sugar and stir in until smooth. Pour over cake and spread. Sprinkle the chopped peppermint patties around the top edge of the cake.
It’s Secret Recipe Club reveal time once again. Which means it’s been a month since my blog went ballistic and HostGator tried to shut me down and I almost (yet again) swore that I was just going to stop blogging because I HATE THE TECHNICAL STUFF. Of course that all happened about one hour before my SRC post was supposed to go up. So in case you didn’t see it, last month I served up Arroz con Pollo y Frijoles.
This month I was assigned to the blog Why I Am Not Skinny by Maxcie. The author grew up in South Africa and now lives in Brussels, Belgium, from where she shares restaurant reviews as well as delicious recipes.
I admit that I get very scared by recipes in metric (being your basic American home cook). I had my mathematician husband work out this cake recipe for me. I rounded up or down in some cases, but the cake turned out great so I feel good about it. Instead of a traditional pineapple upside-down cake with brown sugar, this version has homemade caramel and mangoes.
Maxcie used fresh mangoes, but I had a giant bag of frozen chopped ones so I used some of those. I still think it’s impossible to find really ripe mangoes here like you can in Thailand (oh, I still have fantasies about mangoes there!) so I won’t blame you if you decide to use peaches or nectarines instead. But the slight bite of the mango went well with the sweet cake and caramel, and we all enjoyed the cupcakes tremendously!
These adorable cupcakes with a fancy caramel and mango topping are adapted from Why I Am Not Skinny. Like Maxcie, you can also make this into an 8x8 cake and cook for 45-50 minutes.
1/2 c. white sugar
2 T water
3 T butter
1 c. diced mango, fresh or frozen
3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. milk
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine 1/2 c. sugar and 2 T water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until sugar is mostly dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat and let boil without stirring until the sugar turns caramel brown. Remove from heat; add butter and swirl in by shaking the pan. When butter is fully incorporated, pour into 12 muffin cups evenly. Set aside to cool. When slightly hardened, divide mango pieces among the cups, pressing slightly into the caramel.
With an electric mixer, cream together softened butter and 3/4 c. sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a small mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to mixer and mix until combined. Carefully add milk and gently stir until the batter is uniform.
Spoon or scoop the batter on top of the mangoes in the muffin cups.
Cook cupcakes for 25-30 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes, then invert onto a plate or cooling rack.
When I’ve had a long day … I bake. The best part about being on-campus, in a dorm full of high-school boys, has been the ability to bake without having to eat all the end results. I bake, and then I let Mr. V take the goodies down to the dorm boys. They are happy. I am happy because my kids aren’t asking for cookies every three minutes. My belly is happy because I don’t gain 300 more pounds.
These cupcakes were last night’s creation, inspired by a bunch of ripe bananas on the counter. The rest will go in the freezer for smoothies, but I used two bananas making this awesome cake. I might maybe have been eating the little leftover batter with a spoon. I just love peanut butter and bananas together, so I went for that combo. And with chocolate? A total winner.
Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield: 24-32 cupcakes
This wonderful chocolate banana cake recipe comes from Joy of Baking. You can also make it in a 9x13 pan and bake 35-40 minutes. Together with the peanut butter frosting, these cupcakes are the perfect balance of sweet, salty, rich, and light.
2 c. sugar
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 medium, ripe bananas, mashed
1 c. warm water
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. flavorless oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
4 T butter, softened
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. vanilla
3-4 c. powdered sugar
chopped peanut butter cups
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with liners - I use silicone ones. Spray liners with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla.
Add wet ingredients to dry ones and stir until well incorporated.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. (I made 30 cupcakes with a little batter left over, but the silicone cups make pretty small cupcakes.) Reduce oven heat to 325.
Bake about 22 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool.
For the frosting.
With an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, butter, peanut butter, and vanilla until fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat about 2 minutes, scraping the sides. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes. Garnish with chopped peanut butter cups if desired.
Now Sara said hers turned out more of the texture of a cookie or cookie bar. Mine were definitely cakey – Mr. V said it was basically banana bread cut into squares. I disagreed; it wasn’t super moist as banana bread usually is, to the point of falling apart. The only changes I made to the recipe were cutting back on the sugar and amount of chocolate chips and using brown sugar instead of white. So not sure what happened, but we enjoyed this as a “snack cake,” a cake without icing, if you will.
Mr. V took all but one piece (that we sampled) down the dorm boys and he said they inhaled it in about five minutes. So I will say it was a success! Thanks, Sara, for the great new recipe for my arsenal.
I talk a lot about “feeding the boys.” I even have a Pinterest board called “Goodies for the Boys.” But I realize if you’re a more recent reader to my blog, you might have NO idea what I am talking about.
We live in a boys’ dorm on a private high-school campus. Yep, IN the actual dorm. We live in the basement (which is why any decent pictures I’ve taken are probably outside). And once a week (at least), my husband is on duty. That means he’s in charge of check-in, monitoring study hours, and doing a last lights-out sort of run in the dorm. He also has a small group of 5 or 6 boys that he’s sort of responsible for. He keeps in touch with their parents and communicates with their other teachers. The small group meets once a week, too, in the morning of a school day.
You know who really appreciates home-cooked food? High-school boys (HOOOONGRY) who are away from their mamas.
That’s why I make a valiant attempt to cook something for his small group and also for the larger group when he’s on duty.
I thought he was on duty last night, but it turns out he had switched. I’d already planned to make this cake, though, so I went ahead and did it. And from what I hear, it was devoured in approximately 23 seconds. Mr. V and I taste-tested it and can tell you it really is delicious.
The cake batter is enhanced with extra eggs, making it, well, eggy, mimicking a sweet dough. With the brown sugar-cinnamon filling and glaze, it’s a lot like a cinnamon roll. But easier. And CAKE!
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl and use a hand mixer), combine flour, sugar, and baking powder. Use lowest setting to stir together.
Add sour cream, eggs, and oil. Beat for 2 minutes, until smooth and thick.
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon.
Pour about 2/3 of the batter into the bottom of your pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar/cinnamon mixture. Drizzle the rest of the batter over the top (it should cover most, but not all of the brown sugar).
Bake for 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, mix powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large measuring cup. Stir in milk gradually, until the icing is pourable but not thin. Pour over hot cake when it comes out of the oven.
Let sit at least 10 minutes before cutting into it. It tastes really good warm, but I don't think anyone will complain about it being room temperature, either.
The original recipe calls for a yellow cake mix. If you really don't keep flour and sugar on hand, it's fine to substitute the first three ingredients with one; however, I'm all for simplifying ingredients when possible. This way you avoid the additives in a cake mix.
So, you have a giant tub of plain yogurt. It seemed like such a good idea at a time. Sure, you’ll eat plain yogurt with honey and granola for breakfast every day for a week. And definitely not a doughnut, again.
The solution? Grab a couple lemons and make French Yogurt Cake. I’ve made it a few times before with different types of citrus. Orange yogurt cake with chocolate chips is amazing.
It’s easy yet impressive, and everyone will love it. Two mixing bowls, one loaf pan, a little saucepan, and voila. Wash the evidence and tell everyone you slaved over it for hours.