Easter Coconut Sheet Cake

IMG_5061

This Easter Coconut Sheet Cake was delicious! I was so pleased with how well it came out. The cake was moist, coconutty, and not too sweet.  I couldn’t find coconut cream at Safeway, and Trader Joe’s was sold out of cream of coconut, so after a quick google search I decided to substitute heavy cream.

I was a little apprehensive about the frosting, as I’ve had trouble with Baked’s buttercream recipes in the past. But this one came together with no trouble. I took the butter out of the freezer when I started making the cake, and by the time I got to making the frosting I think it had warmed to the perfect, yet vague, “cool but not cold”  temperature. I skipped the piping and coloring recommended in the book. While the result in Baked Occasions is adorable, I decided to simply go with some shredded coconut on top.

Despite how pleased I was with the results, I’m not sure if I would make this again. It is a lot of work! (Mainly because having 9 egg yolks left over meant I had to make ice cream and lemon bars too :).)

IMG_5051

Baked Sunday Mornings

Mini Walnut Brownie Cupcakes

BrownieThese are such a great little sweet treat to help keep my exhausted co-workers going. The base is a pretty standard chocolate cake, but the topping was what made these stand out.  If I made it again, and I probably will, I think I’d use less batter and more topping per cup. They don’t really rise that much, so even though they looked really full going into the oven I didn’t have any overflow problems.

The only negative was that it took a really long time to fill my mini cupcake pan. It would be a great recipe to enlist the help of a friend in exchange for baked goods.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Derby Cookies, Buttery Brown Sugar Bourbon Walnut Balls

IMG_4948Lately, I’ve been working through recipes that are easy to take to work and share.  Everyone at my office has been working long hours, and having a nice treat on a Monday seems like a good idea to me. As much as I am looking forward to making the scheduled Blood Orange Tiramisu someday, it’s not the most portable dessert.

These little Derby Cookies were awesome. The cookies were soft, but the sugar on the outside gave a great crunch and a punch of whisky flavor. Rolling in raw sugar is something I want to try with other cookie recipes. I’d love to make these again, but I think I’d try it with pecans instead of walnuts, but that’s just my preference. 
IMG_4959

Olive Oil Orange Bundt Cake

IMG_4975

My friend Sarah recommended this delicious cake recipe after she tried it last week. I missed it on the schedule the first time around, which is a shame, because I think I would have made it a dozen times by now. It came out with a perfectly moist texture, scented with fragrant oranges. Easy to make too, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. The only problem I’m having is whether I’ll be able to save any to take to work tomorrow.

Hair of the Dog Cake

IMG_4852Hair of the Dog Cake, or Rum Soaked Caramelized Deliciousness. I love easy cakes. Simple, one pan, no fuss creations, that’s me. And this cake was easy every step of the way. However, if you don’t like rum, I’d recommend modifying this recipe. It is one of the booziest cake I have ever had. The flavor does lessen over time, but whoa, right out of the oven the flavor was hugely alcoholic. IMG_4842 IMG_4843

 

 

 

 

 

 

Probably because you literally pour rum all over it.

Now for the fun part of this recipe. The easiest way to carbonize all of my hard work is probably to put the whole buttery pan two inches from a 500 degree broiler, but I tried it anyway.  I watched, some what apprehensive, as the sugar bubbled and caramelized. But wow, the results are really awesome. Why aren’t there more cakes that do this? It’s a genius idea. 

crop
Oddly, this cake reminded me most of syrup drenched pancakes, except instead of maple you have rum.

If you loved this cake as much as I did, I have a recommendation for you. Over the holidays my mom and I tried Pioneer Woman’s Sticky Cherry Cake, which is similar to this one in that it’s a single layer cake soaked in a delicious syrup. The Cherry Cake is sadly not flambeed, but it is still quite good.

Baked Sunday Mornings

Date Squares

IMG_2973Date Squares are delicious! I wasn’t sure what to expect from these, I thought they would be a bit like fig newtons. Then my husband wandered into the kitchen and said “Do you remember when we were in college and my grandma sent us a box of date bars, and we couldn’t stop eating them?”

“Wait, those were date bars? Those were awesome!”

IMG_2976

These are really easy to make, and other than the dates, only require basic kitchen staples. Chopping up a pound of dates is a bit of a tiresome, sticky, mess, but I found it’s not so bad if combined with a singalong to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. Tis the season and all that. I used my kitchen shears to pit and mangle the dates into tiny pieces, which seemed like it would be a lot easier than using a knife.

IMG_2979

I think these might become a holiday staple in our house, I would make them again. Definitley if I can find already chopped dates!

Campfire Cookies

IMG_2964

Campfire cookies are a bit like combing chocolate chip cookies and s’mores. The result is not quite as good as either of those things, but still rather tasty. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the addition of marshmallows, that was the part I was sure I wasn’t going to be crazy about. The texture was a bit dry and sandy, but didn’t hurt the overall flavor of this cookie.

IMG_2952

The dough was a bit dry too, but scooped out alright after some time in the fridge. I ended up using cinnamon sugar graham crackers, as that is what I had in my pantry, and I think it made them really sweet. I wouldn’t recommended using them.

I brought these to a friend’s Halloween party a few weeks ago. I love the name Campfire Cookies, but people tended to look at me blankly when I called them that, so I just went with “It’s a S’more cookie.”

IMG_2963

Overall it’s a nice spin on a chocolate chip cookie, but chocolate chip cookies are perfection so I don’t know if I’d make these again. I might start adding marshmallows to other cookie recipes though.

IMG_2968

Happy Thanksgiving!
Baked Sunday Mornings

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

IMG_4621

I thought I would whip up these cheesecake bars before pumpkin season dwindles away and leaves us in the land of peppermint and eggnog. I love that they use a sweet pastry dough for the crust instead of graham crackers or pie dough, it makes a really delicious sort of cookie bottom. The bars are fairly easy to make, though it does take a lot of time since bits and pieces need to chill along the way. They slice really easily so they’d be a great party dessert.  Since I don’t like cheesecake, I usually look to my husband to let me know if they turned out well, and he went nuts over these bars. I’m not sure if he’ll let me take them to work tomorrow.

IMG_4628

Baked Sunday Mornings

Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue

IMG_4542IMG_0944

My wonderful friend Sarah is visiting this weekend from Vancouver. So far we have done a dessert tour through Georgetown, met Dave Grohl, rescued a lost dog in my neighborhood, saw The US Constitution, Julia Child’s kitchen and the Hope Diamond, and have basically eaten our way through many delicious spots around DC. Sarah is one of my oldest friends, and she’s also makes some of the best cakes I have ever had.  She was very excited about checking out my copy of Baked Occasions, and immediately zeroed in on the Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue.

IMG_2929

IMG_2943IMG_2947

I am so glad she picked that recipe, because it is incredibly delicious. We still have half of it in the fridge and I am already thinking of making it again. I’m also brainstorming other recipes I can put the Heavenly Meringue topping on, because we were just eating it by the spoonful. Toasting it was a bit of a challenge. I used my husband’s new butane cigar lighter until it ran out of fuel, and a regular lighter really doesn’t cut it. I think I might actually have to buy a real blow torch.

IMG_4560IMG_2937

I had to bake my tart for quite a bit longer than the recipe called for, but other than that it was easy to make. And it is very easy to microwave sweet potatoes, and will save you a lot of time over roasting them.

IMG_2945

This tart would make a really excellent Thanksgiving dessert, because it is a great twist on sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows that is such a weird staple at many Thanksgiving meals.

 IMG_4530