When is the best time for cake? Why anytime, of course.
I love ice cream cake, and cookies and cream cake, and especially any type of chocolate cakes. Cakes are appropriate for any and all occasions big and small: A good day, a bad day, a new job or just because it’s cake for everyone (just ask Marie Antoinette).
Instead of my usual blah blah blah about how and where cake was invented and how cake traveled by camel across the desert (or is that dessert?) to feed the masses, I thought I’d cut right to the recipes and let you spend your time salivating, shopping for ingredients and baking up a new favorite.
This is a small sample of my collection of cake recipes that are guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Most of the recipes can be made ahead of time, frozen and then thawed when you just gotta have cake, and almost all work really well for serving at the end of any holiday meal.
Spice Cake with Caramel Icing
2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the shortening, milk and vanilla; beat on slow to medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides and bottom of mixing bowl several times. Beat in eggs and continue to beat for 2 minutes longer. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Spoon batter into a generously greased and floured 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool and frost with caramel icing.
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, milk and butter. Stirring constantly; bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Let cool to lukewarm. Beat until creamy and thick enough to spread. If too thick, add a little more milk or a small amount of cream. Serves 8 to 10.
Miniature No Bake Key Lime Pie Cheesecake
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 (8-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (use regular lime juice if no key lime is available)
8 ounces whipped cream
12 lime slices for garnish
Line 12 cupcake cups with foil liners. In a bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, pecans and melted butter. Spoon one tablespoon of mixture into each liner and press until firm. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed until creamy. Add sweetened condensed milk and key lime juice. Blend on medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add one cup whipped cream and blend until smooth. Spoon filling evenly into liners. Cover pan with plastic and freeze until firm, about three hours. Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving. Remove liners and top each dessert with one tablespoon whipped cream. Garnish with a lime slice. Makes 12.
Chocolate Lava Cake
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter (not margarine)
3 egg yolks
1 (14- to 16-ounce) package fudge brownie mix
2 tablespoons chocolate milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 non- stick muffin cups with baking spray containing flour and set aside. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine both kinds of chocolate chips and butter. Microwave on high power for 1 minute, stirring twice during cooking, or until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Cool for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine eggs and egg yolks and beat at high speed for 5 minutes until foamy, light in color and doubled in size.
If there is one, set aside the chocolate syrup packet from brownie mix. Gradually add the dry brownie mix to the beaten egg mixture, stirring with wooden spoon until well blended. Fold in melted chocolate mixture and chocolate milk. Carefully pour batter into prepared muffin cups.
Bake for 10 to 14 minutes or just until edges are set. The centers of the little cakes will be soft. Cool on wire rack for 2 minutes. Then run a knife around edge of each cake to loosen, then invert warm cake on each serving plate.
Drizzle with the chocolate syrup from the reserved packet and sprinkle with powdered sugar. If there isn’t a chocolate syrup packet in the brownie mix, drizzle the cupcakes with some chocolate ice cream topping. 12 servings.
Coconut and Lemon Macaroon Cake
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla, divided
2 1/2 cups flour plus 1 tablespoon
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup oil
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with non-stick baking spray with flour. In a small bowl, beat two egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating until stiff. Fold in 1 tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla and coconut; set aside. In a large bowl, with same mixers, combine remaining flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, milk, butter, oil, remaining vanilla and eggs. Beat well until combined, then beat 2 minutes at medium speed.
Pour half of batter into prepared pan and drop spoonfuls of the coconut mixture over the batter, keeping it away from sides of pan. Spoon half of the remaining batter on top, then top with remaining coconut mixture and remaining batter.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until dark golden brown. While cake is in oven, combine powdered sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice and whisk to blend. Remove cake from oven, beat powdered sugar mixture again, and carefully spoon 1/3 of the lemon and powdered sugar mixture over cake. Loosen edges of cake and turn out onto serving plate. Slowly drizzle remaining lemon mixture over cake. Let cool. Serves 10 to 12.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cake
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup peanut butter, divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk or non-dairy substitute
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and 1/3 cup peanut butter and beat on low speed until combined; then beat three minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Spoon batter into pan. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes until set, brown, and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean (except some chocolate might stick to the toothpick). Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen edges and turn pan onto serving plate. Cool fully, then frost.
In small saucepan, melt 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips with 1/3 cup peanut butter. You can also melt these two ingredients in a small bowl in the microwave oven for 2 minutes at 50 percent power, stirring until smooth. Spoon over cake. Makes 16 servings.