Tasty Tuesday–Peppermint Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding

Even though I wasn’t planning on making a dessert for New Year’s Day, once I stumbled across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I did have to make a few changes, based on what was available to me at the store, so you’re getting the recipe I actually used, not the one I found. I also used Kahlúa in place of the coffee required in the original recipe, because I wanted to add more mint flavor, plus, I’m always looking for a new booze-soaked dessert recipe!

  • 4 large whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup peppermint hot chocolate mix
  • 1/4 cup peppermint mocha Kahlúa
  • 3 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 16 ounces stale challah bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups mini marshmallows, divided

Place the eggs in a blender and blend on the lowest speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the sugar and then add the hot chocolate mix and blend until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the Kahlúa, milk, and vanilla and blend until well combined.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch dish and place 1/2 of the cubed bread in the pan. Sprinkle half of the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the mini marshmallows on top. Add the rest of the bread and pack tightly. Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and another 1/4 cup marshmallows.

Slowly pour in the custard. Press down on the mixture with a spatula or the back of a spoon to thoroughly saturate. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Bake at 325, uncovered, for 45-55 minutes or until the bread cubes are crisp and browned and the center is firm.

Remove the dish from the oven and top with the remaining mini marshmallows.

Switch your oven settings to broil and broil for about two minutes, or until the marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Watch it closely, the broiler will burn the marshmallows easily.

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Tasty Tuesday–White Russian Cake

For the Closing Ceremonies of this year’s Russian Olympics, I tried a new twist on my standard booze soaked cake…a White Russian cake. I used a premixed White Russian cocktail from Kahlua, but you could also substitute vodka and Kahlua in the proper proportions. I think this was one of the best cakes I’ve ever made!

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Cake:

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 cup Coffe-Mate Italian Sweet Créme non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 1 cup White Russian mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Filling/Frosting:

  • 1 (3.5 ounce) package instant white chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 cup Coffe-Mate Italian Sweet Créme non-dairy coffee creamer
  • 1/4 cup White Russian mix
  • 2 cups heavy cream, whipped

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour three 8- inch pans.

Mix together the cake mix, 1 cup creamer, 1 cup White Russian mix, eggs and oil until blended. Distribute cake batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, making certain the cake layers do not overbake. Allow to cool completely before filling.

To make the White Russian whipped cream filling: Combine pudding mix, 1/4 cup White Russian mix and 1 cup creamer. Set aside for 5 minutes until thickened. Fold the whipped cream into the White Russian mixture. Use to fill and frost top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tasty Tuesday–Black Forest Cherry Torte

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I wanted to try something new for our Oktoberfest celebration this year…usually I just make apple strudel. So, I decided to try an authentic Black Forest cherry torte. By authentic, I mean that it had to be made with kirschwasser, in the traditional German way. It was a bit of a challenge finding kirschwasser, but I did finally track it down. I also had to splice together several recipes in my quest for authenticity, but I was very happy with the result, and my family requested that the recipe go in my “permanent file,” so I guess it was a success!

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  • 2 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 15 oz. cans pitted sour cherries
  • 3/4 cup kirschwasser (or a little less, if you want a more subtle flavor)
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 cups sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, milk, oil, and 1 tablespoon vanilla; beat until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Loosen edges, and remove to racks to cool completely.
While cake layers are baking, drain cherries. Combine cherries, kirschwasser, 1 1/4 cups sugar and cornstarch in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook over low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla. Cool before using.
After cake layers and cherries have cooled, combine whipping cream and confectioner’s sugar in a chilled medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Reserve 1 1/2 cups whipped cream for decorating cake; set aside.
With long serrated knife, split each cake layer horizontally in half. Tear one split layer into crumbs; set aside.
To assemble, place one cake layer on cake plate. Spread with 1 cup frosting; top with 3/4 cup cherry topping. Top with second cake layer; repeat layers of frosting and cherry topping. Top with third cake layer. Frost side of cake. Pat reserved crumbs onto frosting on side of cake. Spoon reserved frosting into pastry bag fitted with star decorator tip. Pipe around top and bottom edges of cake. Spoon remaining cherry topping onto top of cake.

Tasty Tuesday–Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake

I have to say, I think this recipe was inspired. The pretzel crust, while unusual, really takes the cheesecake from “tequila-laced fruit cheesecake” to “margarita cheesecake.” Insanely delicious…it’s my current favorite out of all of the cheesecakes I’ve made!

Pretzel Crust

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups crushed pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together margarine, sugar and pretzels. Press the mixture into a 9 inch springform pan. (You probably won’t need all of it.) Bake in oven for 10 minutes; cool before filling.

Strawberry Margarita Cheesecake

  • 3 8 oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tequila
  • 2 Tbsp. triple sec
  • Zest of half a lime
  • Thinly sliced fresh strawberries

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar and beat 4 to 5 minutes, or until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in lime juice, tequila, triple sec, and lime zest.

Lay sliced strawberries in a thin layer over pretzel crust. Spoon cheesecake mixture over berries. Bake for 50 minutes, or until center is slightly jiggly. Remove from oven and cool 1 hour. Chill for six hours, or overnight.

Margarita Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. tequila
  • 2 Tbsp. triple sec

In a mixing bowl, beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Dollop on top of cheesecake; garnish with additional strawberries.

Tasty Tuesday–Margarita Layer Cake

Last week, I tried a new recipe for my birthday cake. I was a little worried about it, because I tweaked the original recipe to the point where it was unrecognizable, and I’m not sure that birthdays are the right occasion for such baking experimentation. I shouldn’t have worried, though…this turned out to be one of the best cakes I’ve ever made! I’m planning on trying a strawberry-margarita version soon, by substituting a strawberry cake mix for the orange…this recipe has lots of potential for future tweaking!

Margarita Cake

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package orange cake mix
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup tequila

Lime Pastry Cream Filling

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime zest (from 2 large lime)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 large lime)

Tequila-Lime Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • Zest and juice from one lime
  • 3/4 to 1 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 8 or 9 inch cake pans.
In a large bowl combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, oil, water, 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1/2 cup tequila. Beat for 2 minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 minutes; remove to rack and cool completely before frosting.
To make the lime pastry cream: In a small saucepan, bring the milk and lime zest to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and flour (mixture will be thick). Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until smooth and thick, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Whisk in the vanilla and lime juice until smooth. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the tequila lime whipped cream: Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add tequila, lime juice and zest, and powdered sugar (to taste) and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: Spread a generous layer of lime pastry cream between cake layers. Frost top and sides of cake with tequila-lime whipped cream. Refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, for best flavor. If you happen to have pastry cream and whipped cream left over (I had doubled the pastry cream recipe, which was unnecessary, but delicious!) you can fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream for a wonderful tequila lime mousse.

Stay tuned for the other margarita dessert I made last week…I may have reached the pinnacle of my baking career!

Lemon Lush Cake

This is a great recipe if you love lemons, or if you’re looking to make something that will look really pretty. I loved the way all of the layers looked before I added the frosting!

Lemon Cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup limoncello liqueur

Lemon Curd Filling

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten

Lemon Pastry Cream Filling

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (from 2 large lemons)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

Lemon Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-4 Tbsp. limoncello liqueur, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 inch round pans. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternately with the milk and limoncello, mixing just until incorporated.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Then invert onto wire racks to cool completely.

To make lemon curd filling: In medium saucepan, mix together 1 tablespoon lemon zest, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until smooth. Mix in 6 tablespoons butter and 3/4 cup sugar, and bring mixture to boil over medium heat. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly. In small bowl, with a wire whisk, beat egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in a small amount of the hot lemon mixture. Pour the egg mixture into the sauce pan, beating the hot lemon mixture rapidly. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes, or until thick (not to boil).

Pour mixture into medium bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming as it cools. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the lemon pastry cream: In a small saucepan, bring the milk and lemon zest to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and flour (mixture will be thick). Pour the milk mixture into the bowl and whisk until smooth. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until smooth and thick, about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Whisk in the vanilla and lemon juice until smooth. Transfer the pastry cream to a clean bowl and lay a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the lemon whipped cream frosting: Beat heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and limoncello and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

To assemble: With long serrated knife, split each cake layer in half horizontally, making 6 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a serving plate. Spread with 1/3 of the lemon curd filling. Top with another layer, and spread with 1/2 of the lemon pastry cream. Add third layer, and spread with 1/3 of the lemon curd filling. Add fourth layer, and top with remaining lemon pastry cream. Top with fifth layer, and spread remaining lemon curd filling. Press on final cake layer, and frost top and sides of cake with whipped cream frosting. Refrigerate cake until serving time.

Tasty Tuesday–Mocha Mousse Cake

Cake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker Super Moist triple chocolate fudge cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur
  • 4 eggs
Mocha Mousse
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
Chocolate Whipped Cream Topping
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch processed unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Heat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour bottoms and sides of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil, 2 tablespoons liqueur and the eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pans.
  • Bake 8-inch pans 34 to 40 minutes, 9-inch pans 31 to 37 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Run knife around sides of pans to loosen cakes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, to make mousse, in 2-quart saucepan, mix 1/4 cup of the whipping cream, the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup liqueur. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture simmers; remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips with whisk until chips are melted. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Pour into large bowl; cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
  • In chilled medium bowl, beat remaining 1 3/4 cups whipping cream on high speed just until soft peaks form. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  • In another chilled medium bowl, beat topping ingredients on high speed until soft peaks form.
  • Trim off rounded top of one cake layer. Cut each cake layer horizontally to make 2 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on serving plate; spread with one-third of the mousse. Repeat with second and third layers. Top with fourth layer, cut side down. Spread topping over side and top of cake. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving. Store covered in refrigerator.