Mini Cheesecakes

I was brainstorming on some yummy, simple, Summer-friendly desserts, when it hit me… Cheesecake! I’ll be honest, I haven’t always been the biggest cheesecake fan. It confused me, cake should be fluffy and sweet! Not mushy and cheesy! I’ve given it a chance though and it’s been growing on me. It’s especially delicious when it’s made from scratch.

I’d have to say, the crust is my favorite part. I wanted to make sure to create the crust as well, no matter how tempting those little pre-made crusts at the grocery store are. I could’ve just made one full sized cake, but I thought the little mini’s would be more fun and Summer picnic/BBQ ready. This recipe made enough for 4 medium sized ramekins.

Ingredients for the Crust:
• 6 Full sized graham crackers
• 2 tbs sugar
• 3 tbs butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325F.

If you have a food processor, place the graham crackers into it to create crumbs. Unfortunately, I don’t have one (yet), so I just put them into a Ziploc bag and punched them until they became crumbs. 🙂

Place the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter into a bowl and mix well.
Preparing graham cracker crust
Plop the cracker mixture into the ramekins, about 1/2 way in each. Press the mixture into the ramekins with your fingers, until the majority of the ramekin is “lined” with the cracker crust.
Pressed into ramekins
Place the little ramekins into a pan and put them in the oven for about 10-12 minutes.

Once they’re finished, remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

Ingredients for the Cheesecakes:
• 8oz pack of cream cheese, softened
• 2 tbs of lemon juice
• 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and beat on medium/high until smooth.
Cheesecake all mixed up
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the completely cooled graham cracker crusts.

Top with your favorite berries and enjoy!
Berries on top!
Just a tip, the ramekins I used came with lids as well. These little cheesecakes are even better when in the fridge for a few days!

Chocolate Spice Cake

When it comes to Valentine’s Day treats, it’s always something red. Red cake, red brownies, red cookies, red candies. Here’s a cake that is perfect for your Valentine and it’s not even red! A decadent, dense chocolate cake with some spice! Nothing better to top this cake off with, then some homemade whipped cream. This recipe is for a smaller cake, it’s only one layer from a 9″ square pan. Much more intimate, don’t you think? 🙂
A delightful dessert for lovers

• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 cup hot coffee
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 2 cups flour
• 1 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 350F.
Cream the butter and sugar.
Cream sugar n' butta
In a separate cup/bowl, stir the cocoa powder into the hot coffee and set aside to cool (even though it will smell incredible and you’ll want to drink it up!).
Cocoa powder and coffee
Add the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time.
Then add the milk and vanilla extract until all ingredients are smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix all remaining dry ingredients together (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg).
Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the cocoa coffee mixture into the butter batter, until all ingredients are well combined.
Alternate coffee and dry ingredients
All set to bake
Pour the batter into a greased 9″ square pan and cook for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cake to cool before decorating with the whipped cream.

Ingredients for the whipped cream:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 tbs. confectioners’ sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Ready for some whip

Whipped cream is super easy to make, just beat all of these ingredients together on high speed until you have soft peaks forming.
Mmmm Whipped Creeeeeam
Once the cake is nice and cool, you can decorate your cake however you want. I smoothed the whipped cream over the whole of the cake and added some flair to the edges. I finished off with some cinnamon drops for a little bit of Valentine’s Day red. Share this cake with your love, friends or family!
So romantic
Two slices, one plate

Butter Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Aah yes, butter cake. The one cake that sounds like it will clog an artery just by the name… Many wonder what the difference between a butter cake and a yellow cake is, but there really isn’t much of a difference except yellow cakes tend to be a bit fluffier and lighter, where butter cakes are slightly more dense and dare I say, buttery. If we’re going to go with the butter cake, may as well go all out with a nice sweet frosting. White chocolate it is!

Butter Cake Ingredients (9″ x 13″ baking dish):
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3 cups flour
• 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract, blend until fluffy.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Alternate between the flour mixture and milk into the creamed mixture, until all ingredients are just combined.
Toss the cake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, or when a tooth pick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Now we’re ready to get started on the frosting!

White Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups white chocolate, melted
• 3 cups powdered sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 3-4 tbs. milk

Beat the butter until fluffy and slowly add the melted white chocolate until creamy.
Add the vanilla extract.
Alternate between the powdered sugar(sifted) and milk, beating until your desired consistency is achieved.
Then frost that cake up and ENJOY! 😀

Quickie: Homemade Whipped Cream

Whipped cream is one of those things that can top most treats. Luckily, it’s super quick and easy to make and it tastes even better when you make it yourself!
I made some iced coffees the other day and of course, we didn’t have any whipped cream. I quickly noticed I had the whopping three ingredients needed to create my own. It’s super simple to remember, the three “1’s”:
• 1 cup heavy whipping cream
• 1 tbs. confectioners’ sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
I like to beat the heavy whipping cream first. On medium/high speed, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks start to form.
Add the sugar and vanilla extract, continue to beat on medium/high speed until peaks form, usually takes about a minute or two. Make sure you don’t over beat or you’ll end up with some butter textured whipped cream.
Plop that heaven on your pies, smoothies, parfait’s or cakes and it won’t disappoint.

My Birthday Cake: Vanilla Cake with Lemon Filling and a Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

My 24th birthday was Monday, May 21st. Saying “I baked my own birthday cake” out loud sounds sort of depressing, but I swear it wasn’t. My wonderful, amazing man bought me a bitchin’ KitchenAid mixer for my birthday! It’s official, I’m going to have to marry him now, don’t tell him I said that.
I wanted nothing more than to bake something right away. Since it was my birthday, may as well bake my own cake with my new toy! Random store bought cakes don’t usually tickle my fancy and the nice one’s from bakeries are a bit pricy anyway. We had some extra lemons lying around, and I absolutely love lemon cake… but I already baked lemon cupcakes recently, a lemon filling would have to be the next best thing.
Bare with me, as this post will be a little different. I usually have tons of photos and more details, but I mostly wanted to showcase the new mixer and my birthday cake. Plus, it was getting a bit dark and I didn’t have as much time to bake and photograph as I normally would .
Lemon filling ingredients:
• 1 cup sugar
• 3 tbs. corn starch
• 2/3 cup water
• 2 tbs. butter
• 1-2 drops of lemon food coloring (if desired)
• About 1 lemon’s worth of zest
• 1/4 cup lemon juice

I started off with mixing the sugar, corn starch and water in a sauce pan over medium heat. Constantly stir until the mixture is boiling and thickening. Continue to stir while the mixture boils for another minute, then remove from heat.
Add the butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and food coloring. Stir until the butter is completely melted.
Press plastic wrap on the top of the filling and place in the fridge. The plastic will keep the filling from getting a not-so-desirable rough surface.
Let’s get started on the vanilla cake!
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup butter (softened)
• 4 egg whites
• 1 tbl. vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 cup milk
• Dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter until smooth.
Add the egg whites one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the creamy mixture.
Add the milk and beat all of the ingredients together, until creamy.
Place even amounts of batter into 2 8-inch round pans and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Cakes will be finished once a tooth pick is inserted in their centers and come out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in their pans for a few moments. Once you’re able to handle them, remove cakes from their pans and place them on a cooling rack.

While they’re cooling off and eagerly awaiting their delicious futures… we’ll get going on the frosting.
Lemon cream cheese frosting ingredients:
• 1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
• 1/3 cup butter
• 3-4 tsp. milk
• 3-4 cups powdered sugar
• About 1 lemons worth of zest
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 1 tsp. vanilla

Beat the cream cheese and butter together.
Add the milk and vanilla, slowly start to beat in the powdered sugar until you reach the desired consistency.
Add the lemon zest and juice, continue to beat until smooth.

To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes on your cake stand/plate. Remove your lemon filling from the fridge and slather in on the top of your first cake.
Place the second cake on top and cover the entirety of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Zest a bit of lemon on top to garnish. I would’ve liked to have had more fruit lying around to put on top of the cake, but unfortunately I didn’t.
This cake would be great in the fridge or in room temperature. It ended up being a great birthday cake!

Chocolate Cake with Buttercream Frosting

On a gloomy day, watching bad TV and all I could think about was cake. I was tempted to go to the store and just buy a slice, but realized I had everything I needed at home to bake to my hearts delight. I’ve been feelin’ chocolate lately, so a chocolate cake was in order. Then top it off with some light buttercream frosting, it’ll be awesome.
Ingredients for the chocolate cake:

• 2 cups white sugar
• 1 1/2 cups flour
• 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350F, grease two 9in. round pans.
Mix together the sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla to the dry ingredients. Mix the batter on medium speed for about 2-3 minutes.
In a small sauce pan, boil the cup of water and then add the cocoa powder to create the chocolate, then add the chocolate to the cake mix. Mix on medium speed for another minute.
Don’t be alarmed at how thin the batter is! Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, insert a tooth pick into the center of the cakes and it should come out clean.
Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes, then remove them and continue to cool on a rack.
While the cakes cool, let’s get started on the buttercream.
I initially wanted to make an Italian buttercream, but I wanted cake immediately and knew that American buttercream was faster!
Ingredients for the buttercream:

• 3 cups of confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons of whipping cream

On medium speed, cream together the sifted sugar and butter in a medium bowl until smooth.
Add the vanilla and the cream, mix for another minute until well blended.
Now, it’s time to assemble the cake!
If the tops of the cakes are a bit dome-like, cut the dome off to make it more of a flat surface. I don’t have a cake cutter, but a sharp knife worked just as well.
First layer of the cake is set in it’s stand, frost the top and then add the second layer of the cake.
Frost the whole of the cake. Now eat! (My apologies, as I’m not the most delicate cake froster.) Enjoy!