Mint Oreo Overload Cake

Mint Oreo Overload CakeSoft serve has been a part of my world for my entire life.

Growing up, I’d beg my grandma to relinquish me into the wild and walk up to the nearest Yogurt Delite store with my friends. It sat there loyally in the same shopping center for years, with its black and white checkered floors, completely abandoned lobby, and one strange woman who worked there.

For awhile I didn’t notice the fact that no one ever went there. But then, as I became a more frequent customer, I realized that really, no one went there. It was kind of sad, actually. The Yogurt Delite woman was forever alone, banished to her home in the back of the yogurt shop. She’d emerge when she heard the delightful jingle of bells on the door, only to see the same dorky pre-teen and her gaggle of friends. She would quietly dispense our frozen soft serve and scoop spoonfuls of rainbow sprinkles on top of mine, no matter what flavor I got (okay, it was usually vanilla, swirl, or mint).

Then one day, I noticed someone in there buying something from her. She went into the back to get it and handed it over to him quickly in a brown paper bag. They spoke in low voices, occasionally emphasizing random words while raising their eyebrows in what I can describe as the worst subtlety ever. It dawned on me: perhaps she was running a side business. Like an underground secret business within her facade of a yogurt shop business. From then on, I was kind of suspicious of the Yogurt Delite lady, sitting in the back of the shop behind the empty yogurt cartons, plotting murders or dabbing in international espionage or smuggling arms into the country or something.

Okay, so she probably wasn’t, but hey, it got her more business – I kept coming back hoping to catch her trading a missile to someone in a large paper bag, but it never happened. However, I did get a ton of mint soft serve with sprinkles, and thinking back to that time in my childhood (plus the fact that St. Patty’s Day is approaching) inspired me to create this Mint Oreo Overload Cake!

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DSC_0447ALast year, I made both an Oreo Overload Cake and a Golden Oreo Overload Cake, both of which were dangerously delicious. A mint one was bound to happen, and this one happens to be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Mint + green? Instantly festive — can’t beat that.

And totally, totally delicious.

Both spies and non-spies, please enjoy.

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Mint Oreo Overload Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
A thick, two-layer chocolate cake filled with a light and fluffy mint frosting and topped with Mint Oreos! Perfect for St. Patrick's Day or anytime a mint craving strikes you.
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate fudge cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 small box chocolate pudding (just the dry mix)
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp mint extract - you want MINT, not peppermint, divided
  • 1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
  • A couple drops green liquid food coloring
  • About 10 Mint Oreos, very finely chopped
  • FOR TOPPING:
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • About 10 Mint Oreos, coarsely chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Liberally grease two 9" cake pans with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the cake mix according to package directions; stir the box of dry pudding mix into the cake batter.
  2. Spread the batter evenly among both pans. Bake according to instructions on box, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then very carefully invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, mint extract and green food coloring with an electric mixer, beating until smooth for about 2 minutes. Fold in the Cool Whip until the mixture is uniform and combined. Lastly, fold in the very finely crushed Mint Oreos.
  4. Place a cake layer on a plate, flat side up. Top with the whipped mint filling - this will be a HUGE pile of mint filling, but you will use all of it! You want a nice, thick layer. Using an offset spatula, spread it out to the edges so it's a thick layer. Carefully top with the remaining cake layer, flat side down. Allow the cake to set in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the cap and foil from the can of frosting and microwave for about 20 seconds, stirring until smooth and pourable but not super melty. Stir in the mint extract to combine.
  6. Pour the melted chocolate mint frosting mixture on top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Immediately top the cake with the chopped Mint Oreos. Serve immediately, or store leftovers in the fridge, covered, for about 2-3 days.

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DSC_0468AI love this light and fluffy mint whipped filling! It’s so delicious and creamy, thanks to the tang of the cream cheese and the lightness of the Cool Whip. Combined with the rich, moist chocolate cake layers and the crunch of the Mint Oreos, this cake is a dreamy one you’ll love!

Mint Oreo Overload CakeHave a sweet day!!

xo, Hayley

The Best Banana Cake with Banana Frosting

Best Banana CakeI have always loved grocery shopping.

Mostly because our local supermarket gave kids free cookies in the bakery if you asked politely. They were sprinkle sugar cookies, and they were amazing because they were free, smothered in sprinkles, and because you didn’t need your parents permission to eat a giant sugar cookie before dinner.

(However, in later years I would try this as a teenager and unfortunately, they had an age limit. I suppose teenagers aren’t as cute begging for cookies as toothless, innocent children are).

I loved grocery shopping because my parents were so hell-bent against cooking dinner that we’d head to the store practically five times a week and pick out dinner there. It was usually something like frozen pizza or Lean Cuisines or fried chicken from the deli, but it was awesome since we could each pick what we want. And if you’ve ever grocery shopped when you’re hungry, whatever you get instantly looks like the most amazing food ever. Frozen meatloaf? OMG, gourmet! Deli-fried chicken that’s been under heat lamps since 2pm? COME TO MAMA. Pre-made deli sandwiches that are usually ham and American cheese with those mayo packets? Delish with a capital-D, yo.

Or maybe that’s just because I never really had a decent home-cooked meal. Whatevz.

When my mom and I would shop at Smart & Final, they had this Sara Lee Banana Cake in the fridge section that was to-die for. Anytime we’d shop there, I’d beg her to pleeeeaaasseee buy one for us to have after dinner, and without fail, she always said yes. It became our family’s favorite store-bought cake for its moist banana cake layer and the sweet banana frosting on top. It was positively perfect!

DSC_0335AYeeeears had passed since I’d had a slice of the beloved cake. And when I went to remedy this recently at Smart & Final, I was so saddened to see they’d done away with it. It was basically a blasphemous slap in my banana cake lovin’ face if you ask me. But it also motivated me to make this magical cake at home – and folks, I have officially succeeded.

DSC_0337AThis cake is SO impossibly moist and light, with sweet banana flavor swirled in every bite. The frosting is thick and rich and made with actual mashed banana, lending an authentic and world-class flavor to this phenomenal cake. If you’re a banana fan, you’ll love this cake! We like it as is since it’s identical to our beloved Sara Lee version, but if you’d like, feel free to jazz it up with chocolate chips, Nutella drizzle, or walnuts or pecans.

Now let us have cake!

DSC_0331A*cake adapted from Cake Mix Doctor

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Banana Cake with Banana Frosting
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Rich and sweet, this banana sheet cake is one of the best and my family's favorite cake! Flavored with banana in the cake and frosting, it's a perfectly sweet cake for any banana lover.
Ingredients
  • FOR CAKE:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 2-3 medium-sized bananas, the blacker the better)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp banana extract (you could also use banana liqueur if desired)
  • FOR BANANA FROSTING:
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup ripe banana, peeled and mashed (about 1 medium banana)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp banana extract (more if you prefer a stronger banana flavor)
  • 1 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • About 3.5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, brown sugar, mashed banana, cinnamon, water, oil, eggs and banana extract with a handheld electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until blended.
  2. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cake completely.
  3. Once the cake has cooled, prepare your frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, mashed banana, vanilla, banana extract and lemon juice with the paddle attachment until creamy. Add in the powdered sugar, about a cup at a time, until the frosting is light and fluffy but still kind of soft. You don't want it as stiff as you normally would for say, frosting cupcakes, but it should hold its shape relatively well.
  4. Spread the frosting on top of the cake in an even layer. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares and serving. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge for up to 4 days.

DSC_0344AYou guys. Scouts honor, but this is seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. I’ve made it about four times since I originally whipped it up and my family and I have gobbled it up every single time. It’s so moist, rich, and jam-packed with banana flavor, which we cannot get enough of! As I mentioned before, try adding chocolate or peanut butter chips to the batter for a different flavor twist, or top with chopped nuts if you’d like!

BANANACAKEHave a fabulous day!

xo, Hayley

Raspberry Crumb Coffee Cake

Raspberry Crumb Coffee CakeHappy Sunday, friends!

I figured you guys needed a romantical, super adorable pick-me-up, and this Raspberry Crumb Coffee Cake is exactly what the doctor ordered.

I don’t know about you, but it’s blustery as hell here in Sacramento. Rain, wind, and general calamity… but I LOVE IT. Seriously, anything to push spring off for another couple weeks will save my sinuses from going on strike. And by strike, I mean firing all missiles and raging World War III on my face. Not pretty.

And this weather usually doesn’t have me reaching for fresh fruit or something light and sprite. It has me hankering for ooey gooey mac & cheese, chicken pot pie, homemade soup, and hot cocoa. Fresh fruit and salads? Sooo not rainy-day weather.

BUT if you’re like me, I promise you this recipe is worth it. The fruit is worth it — you’ll survive! — yet this feels far more comforting than it may look. It’s a belly-hugging coffee cake that brightens up blustery days but still feels light. Am I making any sense? No? Bueller? Okay, it’s time for me to stop yapping and continue stuffing my face.

Not a raspberry fan? Sub in blueberries, chopped apples, or even blackberries.

MAKE IT!

DSC_0979A*from Betty Crocker’s Fix It With A Mix Cookbook

Raspberry Crumb Coffee Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake, Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Light yet comforting, this refreshing twist on coffee cake uses fresh raspberries as a morning pick-me-up! Feel free to substitute blueberries, blackberries, or even chopped apples for the raspberries in this recipe, and omit or sub out the nuts for pecans or walnuts if you'd like.
Ingredients
  • 1 & ¾ cups yellow cake mix (this won't use the entire box - feel free to use remaining cake mix in cookies, cakes, or even milkshakes)
  • ⅓ cup full-fat sour cream
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clamshell (about ¾ cup) fresh raspberries
  • FOR CRUMB:
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds (I like Diamond of California)
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, sour cream, flour, oil, and egg with an electric mixer on low speed to incorporate, then beat for 2 minutes on medium speed. Spread the batter into the pan in an even layer, and top with the raspberries, pressing them gently into the batter.
  3. To make your crumb topping, in a small bowl combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter and, using a pastry blender or two forks, begin working the butter into the mixture until coarse crumbs form and the mixture looks sandy. Stir in the almonds.
  4. Evenly top the cake with the crumb topping. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool for about 30 minutes before cutting into squares to serve. Garnish with fresh raspberries or whipped cream if you'd like.

DSC_0977AI love this fun, fruity spin on classic coffee cake! It really perks up this classic dish with the brightness of the tart, gorgeous raspberries and the soft nuttiness of the slivered almonds. Feel free to use frozen raspberries if fresh aren’t available – just thaw them before mixing into the batter.

Have a fantastical Sunday!

xo, Hayley

Homemade Hostess Cupcakes

Copycat Hostess Cupcakes It’s no secret that I work from home full-time… and that I am so incredibly blessed to blog full-time, work in my home, and be my own boss.

But let’s get something straight: working from home has its difficulties for sure. And before y’all roll your eyes as you head to work in 9am rush-hour traffic, hear me out.

First of all, I have a set schedule like you do, but the only difference is that my work is constant. Blogging doesn’t happen within a 9-5 confine; it happens 24/7. I can always be doing something work-related, whether it be Tweeting while using the bathroom, Instagramming before ordering in the Taco Bell drive-thru, or scheduling a couple of Facebook posts before a night out of drinking (and those are plentiful). People will always be craving chocolate chip cookies and there will always be that one person Pinning up a storm, so therefore, I am always working to supply those crazy Pinterest people’s needs.

Second of all, let’s not even get started on the work-related hazards. While I don’t have to deal with Dale from Accounting’s sexual advances, I *do* have to worry about the dreaded, incessant intake of calories because hello, my job involves food and I must eat it for, ya know, quality control purposes. So instead of deflecting a creepy coworker’s leers, I have to deal with my creepy-self eating a sixth cookie for breakfast. And yes, I totally eat cookies for breakfast. Because remember when I said that my schedule is wonky? Well, during certain Pinning binges or when I’m neck-deep in flour trying to perfect the most delicious cinnamon roll, I don’t exactly have time to reach for a nutritious breakfast. While I’d love to sit down peacefully in my sunlit breakfast nook and eat an egg-white omelet with wheat toast and fresh-squeezed OJ, the reality is, I’m most likely shoveling a day-old brownie in my pie-hole while guzzling milky coffee. #truelife.

And okay, the worst part of all? It’s that people just kind of give you that polite, tight smile and nod when you explain you work from home when you know they’re secretly thinking you’re some unemployed loser who wears pajamas all day long. Only the latter is true – I do wear pajamas and they’re damn cute – but I am surely not unemployed. Just because I don’t have coworkers, just because my paychecks are erratic and just because I can wear jammies to work doesn’t mean I’m unemployed. If anything, I’m the luckiest employee ever – my coworkers are gooey, buttery cookies and rich chocolate cakes. They don’t talk back, they aren’t trying to usurp my position, and they aren’t Dale the Creep. No one likes Dale.

DSC_0495AAnd when a new coworker comes along, I hardly ever worry about disliking them… especially not these Copycat Hostess Cupcakes. Because no one — and I mean no one — dislikes cupcakes. They’re like the Switzerland of the dessert world. Even cupcakes like Dale.

DSC_0485AThese cupcakes are the bomb dot com, yo. They taste nearly identical to the Hostess classic but better since they’re homemade! And you won’t believe how simple they are to make! My easy shortcuts make creating these soft, moist and chocolaty cupcakes such a cinch.

In fact, I think I still have a couple lying around… and yes, I do accept job transfers if anyone’s interested :)

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Homemade Hostess Cupcakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
These delightful, chocolaty cupcakes taste nearly identical to their famous counterpart! You won't believe how simple they are to make with a few easy shortcuts!
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients on back of box
  • 1 (7 oz) jar marshmallow fluff
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • 1 can chocolate frosting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 muffin tins with about 18 paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, prepare the cake mix according to package directions or until smooth and blended, about 2 minutes. Portion the batter evenly among each muffin tin, filling about ¾" of the way full. Bake for approx. 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light, moist crumbs. Cool the cupcakes completely.
  3. Once cupcakes are cooled entirely, core them by using a small, sharp paring knife, careful not to cut the cupcake all the way to the bottom. Discard (or snack on!) the cores of the cupcakes. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the marshmallow fluff with about ¾ of the vanilla frosting; gently fold together to combine.
  4. Place the marshmallow mixture into a plastic ziploc bag and seal out the air. Snip off a corner of the bag and pipe the marshmallow mixture into the cored cupcakes, filling just about to the top of the cupcake. Refrigerate the cupcakes for about 20 minutes to briefly set the filling.
  5. Remove the lid and foil liner of the chocolate frosting and microwave for about 30-45 seconds or until nearly melted. Dunk each cupcake into the chocolate frosting, allowing excess to drip off but work quickly as to not lose your cupcake's filling! Invert the cupcakes back onto a cooling rack and allow the chocolate frosting to briefly set on top. Then, fill another piping bag with the remaining vanilla frosting and pipe squiggles onto each cupcake for the signature appearance. Serve immediately and store leftovers airtight at room temperature.

DSC_0496AMy family and I LOVED these cupcakes! I think they taste pretty darn close to the Hostess original :)

Want more snack-cake inspiration? Check out my other childhood favorite copycats! 

oatmealcremepiecopyCopycat Oatmeal Creme Pies

twinkieTwinkie Cupcakes

galacticCopycat Galactic Crunch (Star Crunch)

Have a delicious day!!

xo, Hayley

Apple Fritter Cake {Apple Fritter Week!!}

applefrittercakeLet’s talk Say Yes to the Dress for a second.

It’s a lot like House Hunters, which we know I can’t stand.

If you haven’t seen it, it’s a show on TLC where women go into the world-famous wedding dress salon, Kleinfeld’s, in NYC and basically put the salon associates through the ringer with their outlandish requests, diva behavior, and psychotic entourages of family members.

Women come in with the craziest of expectations on their “Perfect Dress List”, similar to how people act on House Hunters with their mile-long, contradictory fest of their “Perfect Home.” (I want a mansion in the city, but I don’t want the noise from traffic. Oh my god, this Italian villa kitchen is so small! Where are we supposed to fit our SubZero appliances, honey? How come this Italian villa kitchen doesn’t look like an American kitchen?!) etc.

So the women come in wanting a dress with a train but not too long of a train, a sweetheart bust but not something super busty, a small-potatoes budget but let’s try on a Pnina gown, and so forth. Or they’ll bring in some Pinterest picture of a gown and insist they have to try on that gown and make the associates go through a goose chase to hunt down this hideous lace number that’s thousands out of their budget and looks like something you could get at David’s Bridal for like, half the cost.

And what’s with those brides who are hell-bent on looking “sexy” for their wedding day? I get it, you want to look beautiful – of course! – and it’s your day to shine. But insisting on a sheer corset bust blinged out with diamonds all up and down your belly? Um, not cute honey. Save that for the honeymoon, not for when dad walks you down the aisle. If you’re looking for sexy bride, save your money and hit up Frederick’s, buy one of their furry teddies, and head down the aisle in that. As far as I’m concerned, those dresses with the lingerie-looking tops but full trains look like mullet wedding gowns. Trashy, cheap lady of the evening up top, ballgown Cinderella on the bottom. NOT. CUTE.

As it stands I’m actually in NYC again at the moment and would love the chance to wander through Kleinfeld’s, trying on dresses and pretending I’m getting engaged and not a single, twenty-something loner who failed at online dating. But alas, I don’t have a huge budget and with the amount of crazy that happens in that store on a regular basis, I’d probably just smother myself with some tulle.

DSC_0901AAnywho. While I’m in NYC I’ve been dreaming of this Apple Fritter Cake. It’s seriously one of my new favorites because it tastes like a gigantic, soft and tender apple fritter! I love making this in the bundt pan because it allows that rich, apple-cider laced glaze to seep into all the nooks and crannies of the cake, as well as down the center of the bundt. When the glaze cracks and hardens, it’s SO delicious and really reminiscent of a freshly fried and glazed apple fritter. YUM.

And hey, if no one ends up marrying me, I’ll just marry this cake. I’ll skip the dress but uh, just give us some privacy, would ya?

DSC_0890A*adapted from The Cake Mix Doctor’s Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

5.0 from 2 reviews
Apple Fritter Cake {Apple Fritter Week!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 16
 
Soft, moist and tender, this cake is perfect to serve up to guests during the cooler temperatures. It tastes like a giant, freshly glazed apple fritter without all the hard work and fuss of frying.
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 pkg (3.4 oz) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • ¾ cup oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch cloves
  • 3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used Granny Smith)
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 & ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp apple cider
  • 1 tsp hot water
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a standard bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat a medium skillet over medium-heat.
  2. Throw the butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, one (1) tsp of the cinnamon and the apples into the skillet and saute until tender but not too soft, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the cake mix, pudding mix, oil, buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and remaining teaspoon of cinnamon with a handheld electric mixer until combined. Batter will be thick. Spread HALF of the batter into the prepared pan. Layer the apples evenly on top of the batter layer, including the juices from the apples in the skillet. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the remaining cup of brown sugar. Top with the remaining batter.
  4. Bake for approx. 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then very carefully invert it onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Once cake has cooled, prepare your glaze: in a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, apple cider and water until you've reached a pourable consistency. Pour the glaze over top of the cake and let it set, about 15 minutes, before cutting into slices.

DSC_0898AGotta love that glaze! It’s so thick and crunchy and pairs perfectly with the softness of the cake’s crumbs and the bits of apple studded within. I’m in love!

I’ve been LOVING #AppleFritterWeek, and I hope you have also! Stay tuned for one more recipe for Apple Fritter Week!!

Have a great day!!

xo, Hayley

Slow Cooker Molten Lava Cake & A Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker GIVEAWAY!

slowcookerlavaI am so stoked to bring you guys this FANTASTIC giveaway today (and not to mention, this equally fab molten lava cake recipe!)

First of all, as a Hamilton Beach Brand Ambassador, I am proud to introduce you guys to yet another genius, innovative Hamilton Beach product that you’ll soon realize you cannot live without. Today we’re talking about the Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker and folks, it’s simply amazing. I’m honestly wondering how I survived with regular ol’ slow cookers in the past. This one is AHMAAAAZING.

hamHamilton Beach’s Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker is probably the smartest slow cooker on the market right now. The Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker has three easy, modern and convenient cooking settings: manual, probe, and program. For busy days, program the cooking time and the Set & Forget will automatically shift to warm once the time is up. If you’re cooking larger cuts of meat, like pot roast or tenderloin, simply insert the probe, set the desired meat temperature, and the Set & Forget will automatically shift to warm when the desired temperature has been reached. And for traditional slow-cooking, manually set a HIGH, LOW, or WARM temperature for items that don’t have specific cooking times.

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DSC_0754AAnd one of my favorite new features of the Set & Forget happens to be that the folks at Hamilton Beach have made traveling with a slow cooker a breeze. Set & Forget has a clip-lock lid that ensures the product is airtight inside, meaning no messes in transit. And the top handle of the lid is a spoon rest. SO BRILLIANT, Y’ALL.

Not to mention the entire slow cooker is sleek and sophisticated, with an easy to read control panel on the front, grip handles for easy transport, a glossy black stoneware sleeve, and a clean and modern silver and black finish.

DSC_0749AHave I piqued your interest yet? Good! Because this gorgeous, state-of-the-art Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker can be YOURS! Simply enter through the Rafflecopter widget below. I’ll randomly select a winner on October 7, 2014 to receive their very own slow cooker!! Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
DSC_0766ANow… speaking of slow cookers, you know I had to create a highly decadent dessert to christen this new slow cooker… and what better dessert to make than an indulgent, sinfully delicious Slow Cooker Molten Lava Cake!? Molten Lava Cakes were one of my favorite desserts to order as a kid because of that irresistible, highly anticipated gooey lava center and the rich, spongy cake surrounding it. Add a dollop of whipped cream and I was in heaven. This cake transports me back to those days as a kid when calories didn’t count and lava cakes were aplenty. And it couldn’t be easier when you’re using your Set & Forget Slow Cooker!

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5.0 from 12 reviews
Slow Cooker Molten Lava Cake & A Hamilton Beach Set & Forget Slow Cooker GIVEAWAY!
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
 
Decadent, indulgent, rich... have I got your attention yet? This Slow-Cooker Molten Lava Cake is made SIMPLE and is every bit as divine as the restaurant version.
Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix (I used Pillsbury Devil's Food)
  • 1 & ⅔ cups water
  • ½ cup oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 box instant chocolate fudge pudding mi
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream and berries for topping, optional
Instructions
  1. Liberally grease the inner sleeve of your Set & Forget Programmable Slow Cooker by using a nonstick cooking spray. Set it back into the slow cooker.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cake mix, water, oil and eggs with a handheld electric mixer for 2 minutes or until completely blended. Pour the cake batter into the greased slow cooker sleeve.
  3. Using the same bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk until combined. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two until the pudding is slightly soft-set. Pour the pudding mixture directly onto the cake batter; immediately top with an even sprinkling of chocolate chips. Do NOT mix in - just leave it poured right on top!
  4. Set your Set & Forget Slow Cooker to MANUAL, 3 hrs on HIGH HEAT. Secure the lid and click start. Scoop portions of the cake onto plates and top with berries and whipped cream, if you'd like. Serve immediately.

 

DSC_0767AOh. My. Heavens, guys. This cake is insanity! Rich, fudgy, gooey and so chocolaty, it is not for the chocolate faint of heart. But for everyone else: dive in!!

HB_OCT_33967_slowcooker_blogger_7For more information on Hamilton Beach products, including news, recipes and more, be sure to visit their website! You can also connect with them on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, & PINTEREST .

 

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

In the interest of full disclosure, as a Hamilton Beach Brand Ambassador, I was generously provided with this new Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker to review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Pumpkin Snack Cake

pumpkincakeIf you’re looking for an easy and impressive pumpkin cake recipe, look no further! This is quite possibly one of my new favorite recipes for its ease in preparation and how it’s positively packed with pumpkiny goodness!

So as you guys know, I was in NYC for a week and was pretty MIA on my blog. I apologize for that – I was plenty absorbed in the city lights, pretzel croissants and freedom from the internet for seven days and I have to say, it was pretty awesome!

But now it’s back to reality and my reality at the moment is pumpkifying everything. Because even though I was kinda blog MIA, I instagrammed like craaaazy and happened to see everyone and their mothers, their mom’s moms, and their dogs posting IG pictures of pumpkin goods everywhere.

I’ve never felt so uncool and so far behind than I did in NYC. While everyone was whipping up picture-perfect pumpkin pies and chewy pumpkin snickerdoodles, I was in my dingy apartment across the country battling a monster-sized cockroach and was positively freaked to even step foot near the fridge, much less bake in it. So I admitted defeat and went woefully pumpkinless for awhile.

Now I’m back home and in my cockroachless kitchen (thank the friggin’ LAWWWWD), I am putting pumpkin in everything. Pumpkin in cookies. Pumpkin in spaghetti. Pumpkin in bread, cinnamon rolls, aaaaand snack cake. This cake is divine, y’all. And I was shocked at how simple it was to whip up! Something easy on my time-zone-dead mind and to finally feel like a cool kid on Instagram. I swear I’m hip!!

If dry pumpkin goodies give you the shudders (and uh, I don’t blame you; they’re blasphemous) this cake will cure your nightmares. There’s no dry crumbs in sight, thanks to the pumpkin, sour cream and oil that help plump up and moisten this fantastic cake. Then it’s topped with a creamy maple glaze that’s to diiiie for. 

Trust me, the cool kids and I think you must make it.

DSC_0358AA*adapted from the Ultimate Cake Mix Cookbook

4.8 from 4 reviews
Pumpkin Snack Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
Snack cakes have a tendency to be dry and crumby, but not this one! My Pumpkin Snack Cake is packs a pumpkiny punch and is super moist, thanks to the sour cream secret ingredient. The maple glaze tops it off and makes it extra delish!
Ingredients
  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (NOT pie mix!)
  • ¾ cup sour cream (I used full-fat, but low-fat would probably work)
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • Pinch ginger
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Gold or fall-themed sprinkles, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, sour cream, eggs, oil and spices with a handheld electric mixer for 2 minutes or until combined completely. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for approx. 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool the cake completely.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the maple syrup, cream and powdered sugar with a spoon until a glaze has formed. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar; if too thick, a little more cream at a time. Pour the glaze evenly on top of the snack cake, spreading it out to the edges if needed. Top with sprinkles if desired.
  4. Allow the glaze to somewhat set on the cake (about 15 minutes) before cutting into squares. Store leftover cake slices airtight at room temperature, up to 3 days. Tastes great with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream as well!

DSC_0360ASoft, plush, moist and packed with pumpkin flavor, this snack cake will surely become a new family favorite in your house! It’s perfect for dessert of course, but it could easily work for a snack or breakfast — I won’t tell :)

Can’t get enough PUMPKIN?! Check out these delish pumpkin recipes from the blog!

pumpkincheesecakePumpkin Cheesecake Bars

pumpkinpiefrostedPumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Pie Frosting

pumpkinblondiePumpkin Toffee Blondies

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

Funfetti Cookie Cake {Funfetti Week!!}

funfetti cookie cakeI live in a neighborhood of intense wavers.

Since I walk a three-legged dog daily, I have become understandably recognizable throughout my neighborhood.  People I don’t even know will wave at me from their lawns or cars, and I’ll always wave back or say hello.  I’m a friendly walker — I’ll talk to anyone.

But unlike a standard wave-and-go, my neighborhood has the intense wavers.  Intense wavers are those people who will stop at nothing to ensure you saw their wave and acknowledged their wave, and in the event that it is possible that you didn’t see or acknowledge their wave, they will go out of their way to continue waving like a rabid maniac flagging down a plane on a deserted island until you notice them.

I get it: waving at someone who doesn’t notice your wave is embarrassing.  And I try to wave back at anyone who waves at me.  But there are occasions where I’m rightfully distracted (I am walking a very easily-distracted Border Collie), speaking on the phone, not paying attention, or trying to avoid other neighbors (like the man who once ran up to me and handed me a feather, asking me if I needed some “whimsy in my day.”  Um.)

But instead of continuing about their day with an unrequited wave, they’ll make it their life’s mission to ensure I acknowledge them.  Dammit, she will notice me or I’ll die trying!!  No joke, but I’ve actually been walking Mannie and have felt that weird presence behind me, only to turn around and be greeted with a car inches from me, eking up on me with the passenger window down and the neighbor waving maniacally at me, repeating various salutations over and over like some broken friendly robot.

Nothing says “friendly neighbor” like a neighbor who legitimately sneaks up on you in their motor vehicle only to say hello.  Or the neighbors who have legitimately held up traffic to drive very slowly down the street where I was walking to wave at me.  I wish I were kidding.  If this is what it’s like to be a celebrity, remind me to never become one because I can’t even handle this weirdly friendly stalking business.

Or the neighbor that not only waves like a freak of nature, but shouts “Hey! Good morning! Hello! How’s your day?  Hellooooo!  Hey!” over and over and over until I acknowledge him.  I figured I could eke by with just a wave, but I can hear his repeated greetings over the sound of my music and am forced to say hello in every known language just to pass, as if he’s some salutations bridge troll.  I see you, man!  I waved.  A wave is enough.  A wave’s an acknowledgement.  I don’t think I have to physically say “hello” every.single.time.  

However, that’s also the neighbor who tells me every time that he’s convinced the other neighbors are out to get him and that the other neighbors have installed cameras on their homes pointed directly at his house.  Um.

So anyway, if there’s someone in your neighborhood that you always exchange pleasantries with, or if you happen to spot someone you want to say ‘hi’ to, just say hi.  And if they don’t respond?  I am pretty sure the world won’t detonate, your embarrassment will eventually subside and it is incredibly, freakishly creepy only to continue to hideously wave like you’re single-handedly trying to extinguish a small house fire, so please resist the urge to continue to shout greetings to them from your car, hold up traffic, or hunt them down while they’re minding their own damn business picking up their dog’s sh*t.  Yeah, I see you, but I have a handful of literal crap and am trying to wrangle my dog since UPS just drove by, so I’m a little preoccupied to continue our greeting beyond my bro-like head nod hello or my curt “hey.”  Sorry I cannot say ‘Shalom’ or ask how your Monday morning was in extensive detail.

DSC_0257AAnd after a long morning of being badgered with hellos from overly friendly, socially awkward neighbors, sometimes I just gotta head home and bury my face in sprinkles.  Lots of sprinkles.  This Funfetti Cookie Cake definitely serves its purpose for both head burial and being freaking delicious.

DSC_0270AI took my ultra-fave cake batter cookie recipe and baked it in a pie tin for a super deep dish, mega-rich cookie cake that’s packed with a cake batter punch and topped with a sweet whipped buttercream.  Whether you eat the entire thing or section it into slices, it’s the best pleasantry you’ll get all day!

DSC_0273A

5.0 from 1 reviews
Funfetti Cookie Cake {Funfetti Week!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies, Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
This fantastical deep dish cookie cake packs a seriously sweet cake battery punch.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 & ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & ¼ cups Funfetti cake mix (the powdered mix)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • Pinch salt
  • ⅔ cup rainbow jimmies (the tube-shaped sprinkles)
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips, optional
  • Vanilla Frosting (homemade, or canned--I used canned)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Liberally grease a 9" pie plate with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar & sugar with the paddle attachment, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg and both extracts. Lastly, add in the cake mix, flour, baking soda and salt and beat until a soft dough has formed. Stir in the sprinkles and white chocolate chips, if using (I didn't here, only because I forgot! But I think they'll add nice texture and a pop of sweetness).
  3. Spread the cookie dough into the prepared pie plate, smoothing out the top to even it. Bake for approx. 24-26 minutes or until the top is golden, the center is set, and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with light, moist crumbs. Do NOT overbake, as the cookie will continue to cook as it cools. The center may crack and/or deflate a little as it cools; this is normal and okay!
  4. Once the cake has cooled, pipe icing around the edges of the cookie cake using a star tip; top with sprinkles. Alternately, you could also frost the entire top surface of the cake and coat it with sprinkles if you'd like, or leave the cake bare and top with ice cream.

DSC_0268AI love how rich, dense, chewy and BUTTERY this fabulous cookie cake tastes!  Every bite is packed with that lusciously sweet, sprinkle-studded, cake battery punch in that soft and chewy cookie texture everyone loves.  As I mentioned in the ingredients, you can totally add white chocolate chips (or even semi-sweet!) if you’d like for an additional added pop of sweetness and texture — the gooey, melty pockets of chocolate would be SO yummy!

I seriously hope y’all have enjoyed Funfetti Week!!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for a fun, sprinkly roundup of Funfetti treats :) In the meantime… still craving more Funfetti treats?! Check out these bites!

frostingfilledcookiesFrosting-Filled Deep Dish Cake Batter Cookies

funfettibrowniebombCake Batter Cookie Dough Brownie Bombs

pretzelfunFunfetti Cake Batter Pretzel Bites

Happy Thursday!!!

xo, Hayley

 

 

Neapolitan Oreo Icebox Cake {Neapolitan Week!!}

neaporeo

neapolitanweekDear Denim Short Manufacturers,

I have a bone to pick with you.  Ya see, I get that the fashion world is typically very anti-curvy people.  I’m sure it’s cheaper and easier to make everything a size small and let’s face it, some things do look better on smaller sized folks.  However, curvy people still exist and until there are nudity laws everywhere, we have to wear clothes.  And since I live on the sun (aka, in Sacramento where it is regularly 111 degrees F as of late), I need to wear something so I don’t keel over and die.  That’s where denim shorts come in.

I typically wear dresses on a daily basis since they’re easier, look cuter, and I own no less than 5 billion of them.  But sometimes I’m feeling particularly lazy (blame it on the rising temps) and throw on a pair of denim shorts.  Everything’s fine and dandy until.. until I freaking move.  And then half of my shorts are up into my inner thigh, turning my modest denim shorts into a raunchy denim bikini.  WTF.

I can’t walk more than two yards without one inner denim leg creeping up dangerously close to my hooha, which causes me to furiously yank the fabric down every two steps.  And when I try my hardest to ignore the fact that I now have a half-denim-bikini, half-shorts on, the other half rides up, giving the general public an unwanted view of my new trashy denim undies.

WHAT. GIVES.  I can’t win here.

I’ve even tried yanking the waistband down so it sits below my hips, but that just means my muffin top is hanging out of my denim undies.  It’s a look I never thought I’d see on me, much less the entire neighborhood as I anxiously try to adjust myself at the local park, cussing under my breath.

And like, have you ever adjusted yourself in public?  It’s awkward.  One should never adjust themselves like that in public.  The fact that I’m constantly reaching down there and yanking fabric around makes me look possessed.

It’s not like the shorts don’t fit — they do.  They fit perfectly on my waist and hips and in general, the length is just fine.  But some kind of denim-eating undie magic happens when I wear them which just ain’t sitting well with me.  That, and the fact that inner leg chafing is the worst.  Help me out here, fashion companies!

And while we’re working on those inseam lengths, can we discuss why curvy girls have it worse when it comes to sizing?  I’ll try on a size 8 and it feels like I’m suffocating within a sausage casing, but the size 10 looks like I’m wearing a 4-person tent.  What in the royal fashion fudge is happening in your factories?  Can we have some consistency so I don’t have to choose between waddling around like a constipated bratwurst or swimming in fabric that could cover the size of an Airstream trailer?  I mean seriously.

DSC_0749AAnyway, while you’re working away at some fashion magic, I went working away to make another scrumptious Neapolitan recipe for Neapolitan Week.  I’ve become increasingly intrigued by icebox cakes, simple cakes made with cookies, milk, pudding and Cool Whip that you refrigerate and voila — a no-bake cake :) and this particular cake tastes like a frosty, chilly Neapolitan ice cream cone.  Impossible to resist!

DSC_0759A*inspired by Lindsay’s Mint Oreo Icebox Cake recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Neapolitan Oreo Icebox Cake {Neapolitan Week!!}
Author: 
Recipe type: Cake, No-Bake
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15
 
This awesome no-bake icebox cake tastes just like a Neapolitan ice cream cone! Made in minutes and no-bake, it makes for a great summertime treat.
Ingredients
  • 2 pkgs Neapolitan Oreos
  • 1 (3.4 oz) pkg strawberry instant pudding mix
  • 1 (3.4 oz) pkg chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 4 & ½ cups cold milk
  • 1 tub (8 oz) Cool Whip, thawed
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Strawberry syrup
  • Rainbow sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 13x9" baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate pudding by combining the chocolate pudding mix and TWO (2) cups of the milk into a medium bowl, whisking until smooth; in a separate bowl, whisk together the strawberry pudding mix and TWO (2) cups of milk until smooth; set both puddings aside.
  2. Dip each Oreo in the remaining ½ cup of milk and arrange the Oreos in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover the Oreos with the strawberry pudding in an even layer.
  3. Dip the remaining Oreos in the milk and layer on top of the strawberry pudding in a single layer; top with the chocolate pudding in an even layer. Smooth on the Cool Whip to cover the pudding mixture, then drizzle on the strawberry and chocolate syrup. Top with sprinkles.
  4. Allow the icebox cake to set in the fridge for about an hour to set, then cut into squares to serve. Store leftovers airtight in the fridge.

DSC_0760AI absolutely love this icebox cake!  The sweet and crunchy Neapolitan Oreos, the layers of sweet strawberry and rich chocolate pudding, and the final touch of rainbow sprinkles and a drizzle of chocolate & strawberry syrup — you’ll instantly be transported back to childhood summers eating Neapolitan ice cream cones as fast as you could before it dripped everywhere.  This will quickly become a new summertime staple!

Note: if you cannot find Neapolitan Oreos, use Berry Burst Oreos instead.  Or did what I did and smoosh Berry Burst Oreos and Chocolate-Filled Golden Oreos together to make your own Neapolitan Oreos! :)

Craving more icebox desserts?  Check out these Icebox Cakes from other blogs!

Strawberry Coconut-Lime Icebox Cake from Kitchen Meets Girl
Peanut Butter Oreo Icebox Cake from Something Swanky
Blueberry and Strawberry Cheesecake Icebox Cake from Life, Love & Sugar

Have a fantastical day!!

xo, Hayley

 

Maple Bacon Pancake Pound Cake

maplebaconpoundLet’s talk Dads for a second.

Dads rule, am I right?

My dad definitely rules.  And I promise he didn’t even pay me to say that!

They fix stuff for us, like deflated tires and broken hearts; they buy stuff for us, like hot pastrami sandwiches; and they teach us stuff, like by whooping our ass at Jeopardy or by offering us dudely words of wisdom.  In short: dads are great.

Now let’s talk Dude Food.

Dude Food is anything that’s dudely.  Manly.  Messy — especially messy.  Sloppy joes.  Ribs.  Mac and cheese.  Thick hunks of cake or pie, topped with monstrous mounds of ice cream.  Big portions of cheesy omelets or thick mountains of biscuits and gravy.  Bacon.  Dude Food.  If you just realized you, too, may be a dude — you’re not alone.

With Father’s Day approaching, I thought of my dad and the Dude Food he loves that he never really gets — namely all of the above, save for the cake since cakes come and go in this house like clockwork.  But the poor man doesn’t get nearly enough bacon, that’s for sure — he has to share his portion with two bacon fiends (my sister and I) and manage to save a piece for mom, too.  So I figured I’d make him a cake (the man loves his cake) topped with the crispiest bacon you ever did see — a cake exclusively for him.  A Dude Food cake.

DSC_0564APancakes are one of my dad’s favorite foods, especially slathered generously with maple syrup and butter.  And since everyone knows bacon goes with pancakes and maple like three peas in a pod, I figured I’d make a pancake flavored pound cake topped with a luscious maple icing and thick chunks of bacon sprinkled on top.  Repeat after me: Dude. Fooooooood.

Oh, and serving it with beer is a must.  Now make this for your dad — he deserves it!

DSC_0570A

5.0 from 2 reviews
Maple Bacon Pancake Pound Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes/Cupcakes
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
 
This Maple Bacon Pancake Pound Cake tastes like a fluffy, cakey pancake topped with a thick, scrumptious maple icing and chopped, salty bacon -- aka, it's irresistible!
Ingredients
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box French Vanilla pudding mix (just the dry mix)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp butter extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (12 oz) pkg bacon, cooked and crumbled with 2 tsp bacon grease reserved
  • 1 can cream cheese frosting
  • 2 tsp maple extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Liberally grease a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, pudding mix, buttermilk, oil, syrup, eggs, butter and vanilla extract with an electric mixer for about 2 minutes or until combined. Stir in 6 ounces (HALF) of the cooked, chopped bacon pieces. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  2. Bake the cake for approx. 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs. Cool for about 30 minutes in the pan and then carefully invert to a wire rack set over a sheet of wax paper.
  3. Into the can of frosting, add the maple extract and the reserved bacon grease. Microwave the frosting for about 30 seconds or until smooth and of pouring consistency.
  4. Pour the maple frosting evenly over the cake and immediately sprinkle with the remaining chopped bacon. Allow the icing to set, about 20 minutes, before cutting into slices to serve.

DSC_0566AI remember the first time I brought my dad a maple bacon cupcake home from the bakery I worked — he looked at me with a puzzled expression and said “maple and bacon in a cupcake?!”  I assured him it’d be good and after one bite, he was hooked.  And no wonder — it’s a classic combination that everyone loves and it works SO well in a moist, buttery pound cake!  Butter extract really helps make this pound cake shine and gives it that pancake-y flavor we all love when combined with a splash of vanilla and maple syrup stirred right into the batter.  And I love the nice touch of smokiness in the icing from the bacon grease — a simple trick that makes the world of a difference.  Make this for your pop, stat!

Have a fantastical day!

xo, Hayley

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