Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Candy Cake

Kit Kats and M&M's! Yes please!
I have been asked how to make this cake, so I have finally found a worthy excuse to make one.
My son's 1st grade teacher has a birthday today and what a perfect reason to send some cake love.

Teachers don't always get the praise they deserve.
We have been so blessed to have amazing teachers for my son. I couldn't have asked for a more loving, dedicated teacher.  I am amazed at her patience.
What a tremendous job teachers have teaching the next generation. I am truly grateful for them!
So to all you teachers... Thank you! From a very grateful parent....Thank you for the hours you spend before school, after school and every other time in between.  Your time is priceless and my thanks is endless. Much love to you all!

Happy Birthday Mrs. Pedder, we love you!!

Now the cake.....

First start by making a cake, any cake, boxed, homemade, doesn't matter.
Then frost it, again doesn't have to be fancy, just throw some frosting on there, we are going to cover it anyway. Just try to smooth the sides a bit so the Kit Kats will have a nice place to rest.

Next start lining the Kit Kats side by side, gently pressing them into the frosting. Some may try to fall and try to escape, just press them back on. I used about 4 king size packs for this 6" cake.

Once you have completely circle the cake, grab a pretty ribbon. I chose my snowflake ribbon because it is supposed to snow around here today and it matched the M&Ms. Go ahead and get creative, it's allowed here. Just wrap the ribbon around the cake and make the best bow you can.
I am not the best bow maker so I just go simple.

Lastly, cover the top with the M&M's of your choice. I went with Valentine day ones here because it is the season and they are so girly. I have 3 boys, so I love to make things girly when I can.

There you have it, easy right? Now that you see how easy it is, I expect to see all your creations.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Snickers Cake

The three boys club.
Yes, there is such a thing.
Ok, I made it up, but still, it's thing. Having boys is special, having three, well, really special.
Every day is an adventure.

I have a friend who is about to join the club and I was asked to make a cake for her shower.
I thought about the sweet little cake I was going to make, I decided to ask her what flavor she wanted.
She replied with one word.....Chocolate. Oh yeah.... she is going to need chocolate. I had almost forgotten the energy you need to stay alert with three boys.
One second they are playing nicely together, then BAM! One snaps and steals a car from his older brother, then the older brother screams, then there is chasing and screaming, knocking down the youngest, who then starts screaming and chasing. Next thing you know it sounds like wild animals are tearing through your house .........breathe....1...2...3...that never happens in my house. Ok, like every day. I  need chocolate just thinking about it.

Soooo, I changed my mind about the cute little cake and went monster chocolate indulgence.
Wait for it...... Snickers Cake!

Let's talk about this Happy Mommy maker.

It has a few steps, I suggest making this a 2-3 day project so you don't get overwhelmed.
What's involved:
Day 1: Make cake and put in freezer
            Make caramel sauce
Day 2: Make frosting and snickers nougat filling
Day 3: Make ganache and put cake together.

Now let's talk about these steps and the recipe.
I found just what I was looking for at Browneyedbaker, I like her recipe, but I needed to change a few things. Let's get started....

Ingredients you will need:

For the Cake:
2½ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
¾ cup vegetable oil
4½ teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Nougat Filling:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
3 cups marshmallow fluff
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup caramel sauce (click for my recipe or buy some)
4 cups powdered sugar
For the Milk Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces (½ cup) heavy cream
For the Assembly & Garnish:
Additional caramel sauce
Chopped peanuts

1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the insides of the pans, tapping out excess; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer (or large mixing bowl if you're using a hand mixer), sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).
4. Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the caramel sauce while the cake is cooking if you need to.

5. Make the Nougat Filling: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Fold in the peanuts. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. You can do this leaving it at room temperature or you can pop it into the refrigerator to speed up the process. Be sure to give a stir occasionally as it cools.
Not an attractive picture, but I wanted you to see it will be a little soupy still. Let it sit, it will thicken.
6. Make the Frosting: Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes (I used the whisk attachment for my stand mixer, but it's not necessary). Pour in the caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy

7. Assemble the Cake: If your cakes baked up uneven or have domed on top, level off the tops. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with half of the nougat filling and then spread a couple spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce over top to evenly cover the nougat filling. Top with a second cake layer and cover with the remaining nougat filling and top with caramel sauce. Place the final cake layer on top face-down. Frost the cake with the caramel frosting, finishing it as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, until the frosting is set.
8. Make the Chocolate Ganache: While the cake chills, make the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until it just comes to a boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Begin whisking the mixture in the center, gradually working your way outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, yet still a pourable consistency.
9. Garnish the Cake: Transfer the ganache to a 2-cup measuring cup. Slowly pour the chocolate ganache into the center of the cake, letting it push itself outward and flow over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, giving the ganache a chance to set up. To finish garnishing, drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce over the top and side of the cake, and top with chopped peanuts. Keep the cake refrigerated, removing it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving.

Baking from my heart to your kitchen,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Fluffernutter Bars

Have you heard of fluffernutter sandwiches?

Have you ever tried one?

Life changing!

Before Christmas I had heard of these sandwiches I just never tried one. Crazy right?!

While visiting family over the Christmas holiday, my nieces and nephew were making little fluffernutter sandwiches. I thought...hmmm... those look pretty good, I think I'll try one.
My brain exploded...seriously...Exploded!
Why have I never tried one before? I have been missing out and I need another one! And another one!

I am not kidding people. I ate one every day for like a week. I even went out and bought the largest container of fluff I could find.

Now that I feel like a giant marshmallow, I decided I need to do more with peanut butter and fluff.

Then I saw a recipe on "Confessions of a Cookbook Queen" and knew I had to try it.

Wait for it..... Fluffernutter Bars! Oh yes!

Mix up some peanut butter chocolate chip goodness. Top with the Fluff fantastic, then sandwich it in with some more goodness.

Bake it to golden brown, cool and enjoy. Ok... truthfully, I couldn't wait I scooped some out while it was warm....another life changing moment. Yum!

If you want to slice it into cute little squares you will have to refrigerate until completely cool. But, if you want it to ooze fluffiness, leave it at room temp.

Here is the recipe:

Fluffernutter bars
adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen

3 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
1 cup smooth peanut butter
1 1/4 cup packed dark or light brown sugar  (I used light brown)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
13 oz (the large jar) Marshmallow Creme

-Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9x13 pan or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
-In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
-In the bowl of your mixer, beat butter, peanut butter, and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla.
-Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl before adding the eggs one at a time, beating after each. --Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
-With the mixer on low speed, slowly add flour mixture until incorporated. Using a wooden spoon, make sure all the flour mixture from the bottom of the bowl is mixed in (batter will be thick). Fold in chips.
-Spread approximately 2/3 of batter in prepared pan.
-With the lid (and packaging seal) removed, microwave the Marshmallow Creme, stirring every 20 seconds, until it's softened and easy to spread. Spoon evenly over batter in pan and spread gently.
-Spoon remaining batter over marshmallow, as evenly as possible. Spread a bit, then using a sharp knife, drag through the batter, creating a "swirl". Bake for about 30 minutes, until edges are brown and bars are dark golden all over
(some of the marshmallow may puff up and get darker brown than the rest of the batter this is okay).
-Let bars cool completely. Refrigerate until firm for ease in cutting (this also keeps the marshmallow from oozing out).

From my heart, to your kitchen,