Category Archives: Desserts

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes

Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes | Pale YellowIt’s only fitting I make the desserts with the most steps for my roommates.  Their lives are not just about eating fresh and delicious treats every week, they also have to deal with all the space devoted to baking supplies and the messy dishes everywhere.  And some times they have the vital task of eating all the “ugly” ones.  Someone has to make them disappear…

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowIt’s hard work being my roommate, clearly.  To reward them, I make Ruth and Andrea decadent treats for their birthdays full of their favorite things.  Since I know Andrea has a weakness for all things chocolate + peanut butter, and who doesn’t love a good cheesecake, it’s only fitting that I presented her with these peanut butter cup cheesecakes.

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowPeanut butter cup cheesecakes are no joke.  There is a chocolate cookie crust, a chocolate cheesecake middle, a peanut butter no-bake cheese cake mouse layer, and then several chopped up mini peanut butter cups on top.  Overall it is a decadent snack, but the small size keeps it perfectly manageable.

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowAndrea has been a fantastic addition to our apartment these past eleven months.  I would have never imagined we could have found such an awesome lady on Craig’s List.  Not only does she have all the desirable roommate qualities like cleanliness, timely payment for shared expenses, and a quiet, courteous demeanor, but she has become a true friend.  Navigating NYC can be a difficult task and having around literally around the corner makes life much easier.  Plus, you always need a buddy to obsess over Downtown Abbey with!

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowI kind of wish I had one of these cheesecakes to eat right now, they were just so perfectly tiny and creamy.  Reese’s peanut butter cups are my weakness too, and adding them on top of something already decadent and sweet makes the dessert totally better!  I think you should make peanut butter cup cheesecakes for your roommate and if you don’t have a roommate make them for yourself, you deserve it!

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellowOne Year Ago – Chocolate Beet Cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes
Adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life
Yield – 24 mini cheesecakes

2 cups oreo crumbs (20 oreos)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons Greek yogurt, plain & fat-free
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 bags mini Reese’s Peanut Butter CupsPeanut Butter Cup Cheesecakes | Pale Yellow

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners.
  2. Crush the oreos into fine crumbs and mix with melted butter.  Press 2 tablespoons of the crumb mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Press firmly and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Beat in the eggs, yogurt, and flour and mix to combine.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips and shortening the microwave in 20-second intervals stirring in between.  Add the chocolate to the cream cheese mixture and again beat to combine.
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of mixture to each crust and bake for 22 minutes.  Let set for 4 minutes before removing from the cupcake pan and cool completely on a wire rack.
  6. Beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and Cool Whip in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Spread evenly on top of the cooled cheesecakes.
  7. Chop up the peanut butter cups and add to the top of the cheesecakes.
  8. Store in the fridge.

peanut butter cup cheesecakes | pale yellow

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Sinful Chocolate Trifle

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Whenever Ruth’s birthday comes around I choose the most difficult dessert/dinner on my wish list of things to make.  One year it was  a 2-day fish taco extravaganza, another year it was my first 5-layered (leaning) cake with each layer featuring a different fruit filling, and last year was the over-the-top chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake cake.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}What can I say, Ruth is a good friend and totally worth it!  On the Sprinkle Bakes website this is a 7-sins layer cake.   I knew I wasn’t up for a layer cake, so my original though was layered cake in jars.  Great in theory except I only have 16-ounce jars, so this entire recipe would have made about 3 servings.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a tad much for me.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Of course I realized the mason jars wouldn’t work while I was just starting the assembly, so I started looking around the kitchen for other ideas.  Luckily we had plastic champagne flutes and small tumblers from our New Year’s Eve party.  The flutes look elegant and cool, perfect for a fancy party.  The tumblers are still cute and way easier to eat from!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}There are a lot of steps, but none of them are difficult.  This recipe takes a little bit of time, but it is all totally worth it.  I made the cake the night before so it was cool and ready to go for assembly.  The pastry creams MUST be made the day before so they have adequate time to chill and develop flavors.  Making the three different pastry creams is high the awesome scale.  Yes you dirty a lot of bowls, but having so many flavors in one dish is a delightful treat to eat.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Just before you are ready to assemble it takes a few minutes to make the frosting and ganache topping.  Assemble however you want.  This would be awesome to layer in a large trifle dish for a big party or in little cups for easy grabbing.  I still think this would look amazing layered in a jar, but use 8-ounce jars!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Here is your next, probable questions – do all these layers and flavors actually taste good?  Yes!  The chocolate cake is light and flavorful and provides a great support for all the pastry creams.  Speaking of pastry creams, they are all spectacular on their own, like you could just eat them with a spoon, no cake needed!  Each one has a distinct flavor whether dulce de leche, espresso, or dark chocolate.  Each bite can be a little different.  The milk chocolate marshmallow buttercream frosting is intensely sweet and the chocolate ganache pulls all the flavors together.

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}Best of all, the dessert holds its own.  The little cups are portable and easy to take out to dinner to celebrate a birthday and can survive the craziest of cab rides home.  They last in the fridge too.  Like a week later I could still eat a leftover one and it tasted just as fresh as when I made them!  This is the dessert to make when you want to impress your friends!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}One Year Ago – Vanilla Cake Pops

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Sinful Chocolate Trifle
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes
Yields – 12+ servings

Devils’ Food Cake
1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3/8 cup + 4 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 ˚F and grease two cookie sheets.  Line with parchment paper and grease that too.
  2. Whisk together the chocolate, cocoa, and hot coffee in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, and vanilla.  Whisk in half the chocolate mixture and set aside as well.
  4. Add the flour, brown sugar, soda, and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  On low speed, mix all the ingredients.  Add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time.  Mix in the other half of the chocolate mixture for about 30 seconds and then raise the speed and mix again for 30 seconds.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  5. Add the egg mixture in two parts, first on low speed and then increase the speed to medium for about 45 seconds.  Scrape the bowl as needed, you want the batter to be fluffy.
  6. Divide the batter in half and spread evenly on each cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 9-10 minutes or until the cake is set but before the edges are crispy.  Allow to cool on the pan.
  8. Note – Make the the night before!

Chocolate Pastry Cream – Three ways
2.5 ounces dark chocolate + 2 tablespoons whiskey
2.5 ounces milk chocolate + 2 teaspoons espresso powder
2.5 ounces white chocolate + 3 tablespoons dulce de leche
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups (16 ounces) evaporated milk
2 eggs + 4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. Chop each chocolate individually and evenly and add to three separate bowls.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together the cornstarch and 1/2 cup milk.  Whisk in each egg and egg yolk individually.  Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan whisk together the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk and the sugar over low heat until the mixture boils.  Whisk continually.
  4. Temper the eggs by adding a little of the hot milk mixture while whisking the eggs.  Once the eggs are hot, pour the eggs + milk into the saucepan and heat and whisk until the mixture thickens and boils.
  5. Run the pastry cream through a fine sieve.
  6. Divide the pastry cream between each bowl of chopped chocolate.  Stir to melt the chocolate.
  7. Add one tablespoon of butter to each bowl and again stir to melt & combine.
  8. Add the whiskey to the dark chocolate, the espresso to the milk chocolate, and the dulce de leche to the white chocolate.  Stir each mixture to combine.  Cover with plastic wrap directly on the pastry creams and refrigerate overnight.  Make the night before!

Milk Chocolate Marshmallow Buttercream
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
6 ounces milk chocolate, melted and cooled
7 ounces (a small jar) marshmallow cream
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Beat the butter in the bowl a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on high for 3 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar in three batches first on low, and then on a high speed.
  2. Beat in the melted chocolate and marshmallow cream.  Scrape the bowl as needed.
  3. Add in the cream and beat until you have reached the desired consistency.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt

  1. Chop the chocolate evenly and add to a heatproof bowl as you heat the cream to scalding in a small saucepan.
  2. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes.  Stir to melt the chocolate.
  3. Stir in the corn syrup, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Use quickly after making before the the chocolate sauce hardens.

Assembly

  1. Break or cut the cake into small pieces.  I used rounds for the champagne flutes and broken pieces for the smaller cups.
  2. Start with a dollop of buttercream and then add a layer of cake.
  3. Add 1-2 teaspoons dark chocolate pastry cream, smooth and top with cake.
  4. Add 1-2 teaspoons milk chocolate pastry cream, smooth and top with cake.
  5. Add 1-2 teaspoons white chocolate pastry cream, smooth and top with cake.
  6. Pipe another dollop of frosting, top with cake, more frosting, and then drizzle with the dark chocolate sauce.
  7. Garnish with whatever your heart desires!

sinful chocolate trifle | Pale Yellow {devil's food chocolate cake, milk chocolate marshmallow butter cream, and chocolate pastry cream three ways with dulce de leche, whiskey, and coffee}

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Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

giant chocolate chip cookie // Pale Yellow

This is a giant cookie, a 14-inch cookie to be exact.  You could call this a cookie pie or a cookie cake, but I think a giant cookie sums it all up perfectly.  There is only one person I know of so deserving of a giant cookie and that is Theresa.  (I mean obviously, it says “Happy Birthday Theresa” on the cake).  Last year I made her Tie-Dye cupcakes for her birthday, this year it’s a giant cookie.

giant chocolate chip cookie // Pale Yellow

And while we’re  talking about what it says on the giant cookie, can we just get the elephant out of the room and discuss the humungous blob in the “H?”  I was talking on the phone and trying to pipe letters at the same time, never a good idea by-the-way, and and big glop came out of the piping bag in the middle of the cake.  I tried to scrape a bit off so it wouldn’t look too horrendous, but clearly not enough came off.

giant chocolate chip cookie // Pale Yellow

This is why I will never be a world famous blogger, my mind wanders and I don’t pay attention to details sometimes.  I thought I was being super crafty using some clear gel mixed with food coloring to write/paint the words before writing in chocolate so I could focus on spelling, size, straightness, and centering, but even that didn’t work out too well.

giant chocolate chip cookie // Pale Yellow

What this cake lacks in style, it certainly makes up for in taste.  I honestly expected the giant cookie to be a little dry, it just looks like it would be.  This cookie is far from dry!  It is lovingly moist and has a fantastic chewy texture.  The flavor is sweet, chocolately, and just a little bit salty – exactly what a chocolate chip cookie should be.  A giant chocolate chip cookie is an easy way to make a regular cookie exciting and special.

giant chocolate chip cookie // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago – Single Girl Chocolate Cake

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Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie

Adapted from Sweet Serendipity by Stephen Bruce

Yield ~ 20 servings depending how you slice the cookie (14” pan)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

extra chocolate for decorations

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a 14-inch pizza pan with shortening.  Line with parchment paper leaving an overhang and the grease the parchment paper.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars until pale yellow.  Beat in the eggs one at a time and the vanilla.  Scrape the bowl as needed.

  3. Sift together the flour, soda, and salt onto parchment paper.  Add to the butter on the lowest speed and mix until just combined.  Mix in the chocolate chips.

  4. Press the dough as evenly as possible in the pan.  It helped to wet my hands with cold water to press the dough around.

  5. Bake for 18 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  All the cookie to cool in the pan.

  6. Decorate with chocolate and/or sprinkles.  Cut into slices or chunks to serve.

giant chocolate chip cookie // Pale Yellow

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Candy Cane Cheesecakes

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

One last holiday recipe, it’s January 11th and I’m finally done posting all my Christmas cookie and holiday treat recipes.  I would say it’s time for some healthy, whole foods, because it is time, buuuuuut that’s not happening at my house.  There is still plenty of dangerous baking going on around here; January has a quite a few birthdays that simply require cupcakes.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes 6

My New Year’s Resolution is simple – each month I will pick one area of my life and focus on improving that area for the month.  This month it is working out.  My goal, not resolution, is to run or workout at least three times a week with another walk or two thrown in.  Right after a good sweat I feel fantastic, but trying to motivate myself is another story…

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

If you have been following the blog since the summer, you hopefully haven’t noticed the sad excuse for a Recipe Index.  It was not well organized or maintained.  This past week I’ve been working to update things, SO GO THERE NOW!!!!  It’s not fancy, but it has a picture each recipe I’ve posted with a link.  It’s a Pinterest board of me.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

These cupcakes were made for the dessert tray at my family Christmas party.  My dad’s side of the family always meets up on a non-holiday day to celebrate Christmas and it’s kind of awesome – family, food, and drinks without the obligations of the actual holiday.  Also on the tray were naughty bars and gingerbread cupcakes, please notice this week’s blogging theme.

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

The candy cane cheesecakes are not in-your-face minty.  They have the sweetness and peppermint-ness of candy canes, not mint leaves.  The crust is perfectly crunchy and provides contrast to the silky cheesecake on top.  A little swirl of rich, creamy, decadent chocolate ganache never hurt anyone and it pulls the mini cheesecakes all together.  Keeping the cheesecakes in individual cupcake wrappers make these desserts super easy to serve for a party!

Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

One Year Ago: Vanilla Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

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Candy Cane Cheesecakes
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
Yield – 24 cupcake size cheesecakes

2 cups (2/3 of a package) Oreo cookie crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
pinch of salt
5 crushed candy canes
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
3 broken candy canes for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place cupcake liners into 24 cupcake tins.
  2. Crush the oreos into small grounds.  Mix with 4 tablespoons of unsalted, melted butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of the oreo mixture into each cupcake liner.  Press down firmly to make a solid bottom.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the cheesecake mixture.  Beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until light and fluffy.
  6. Beat in the egg, sugar, salt, and peppermint extract.  Make sure the mixture is well mixed.  Fold in the crushed candy canes.
  7. Reduce the oven to 300 F and scoop 2 tablespoons on the mixture on top of each oreo bottom.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are set.
  9. Let cool completely in the fridge.
  10. To make the ganache garnish – Bring the heavy cream to a simmer and pour over the bittersweet chocolate.
  11. Allow the chocolate to sit and then whisk until melted.  Whisk in the butter.
  12. Let cool completely whisking every few minutes.
  13. Pipe onto the chilled cheesecakes and place a piece of candy cane on top.Candy Cane Cheesecakes // Pale Yellow

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Apple Pie Cheesecakes

Yummy, yummy!  I saw this recipe the day before I went apple picking and I knew I was going to make it with my freshly picked apples.  Since I had so many apples, I wanted to make my own apple butter.  Making apple butter is super easy!  Just dice some apples, cook them until they are really soft, and then puree.  I had always assumed apple butter was difficult to make and fancy, but I was wrong.

This post was supposed to go out on Friday, but somehow it just didn’t seem right.  This whole blogging thing seems trivial and I could be doing so many more useful things with my time then typing up recipes, taking pictures, and writing about them.  It’s a shame because this amazingly delicious recipe is being overshadowed by the dark cloud over my heart.

People don’t have heat, electricity, warm food, or clean water, and I’m writing about apple cheesecakes.  It all seems inappropriate.  Hurricane (Post-Tropical Storm) Sandy has left us, yet the devastation left in her wake is still being uncovered.  Saturday I made the decision to push forward and find some degree of normalcy.  Time has not stopped, life is pushing forward and I need to move with it.

I’ve been out of work for a week and I have used that time to volunteer, gather what supplies I can for those who need it, and reach out to those I care about.  Eventually I will find the balance I need to help those in need and do the things that bring me joy.  If you want to know what you can do to help, please email me – palyellowbakes@gmail.com.  Thank you!

These mini apple cheesecakes really are wonderful!  They have a crunchy, cinnamon-filled crust and a simple, sweet, no-bake cheesecake filling.  The apple-walnut compote on top adds the extra burst of appleness this recipe needs.  This dessert was well received by the roommates and co-workers.  I believe this would make an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving dinner!

And this seems so silly, but I’m in love with the pictures I took!  I struggle with my photography so much!  Nothing is straight, almost all the pictures are blurry, and I just don’t have great natural light spots.  These pictures were taken in the early evening out on the back porch.  Everything just works.  It’s a rare moment I’m impressed by my own photography, this is one of those occasions!

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Apple Pie Cheesecakes
Adapted from Shutterbean
Yield – 12 individual cheesecakes

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 ounces 1/3-fat cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup apple butter, see recipe below
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium apple
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and make the apple butter if you’re making it from scratch.  If you have store bought, use it!
  2. Pulverize the graham crackers and then measure 1 1/4 cups into a small bowl.  Pulverize the walnuts as well and add to the graham crackers.
  3. Melt the butter and add it along with the salt and cinnamon to the walnut/graham cracker mix.  Stir until everything is moistened.
  4. Spray silicone cupcake molds with cooking spray and press 2 tablespoons of the crust mixture into each cupcake mold.  Use your fingers to press the crust into the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the crusts are brown.  Let cool completely befroe filling.
  6. Beat the cream cheese for 2-3 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and apple butter.
  7. In another bowl beat the heavy cream on high until stiff peak form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese.
  8. Use a standard size ice scoop to portion the cream cheese mixture into each crust.  Smooth the tops with a spatula.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.
  9. To make the apple-walnut topping melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a small saucepan.  Chop up one apple into small pieces and add it to the butter.
  10. Add in the walnuts that are coarsely chopped and the cinnamon.  Sprinkle in a pinch of salt.  Stir and heat until the apples are soft and a nice sauce has formed.  Set aside to cool.
  11. Place about 1 tablespoon of the mixture on top of each cheesecake.

Apple Butter
Adapted from Chef in You
Yield ~ 3 cups

2 pounds chopped apples
2 tablespoons apple cider
splash of water

  1. Add the chopped apples to a medium sized sauce pan with the apple cider.  Stir and cover with a lid.
  2. Cook until the apple are easily mashed with a wooden spoon.  If the mixture becomes too dry, add in a splash of water.
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree into a smooth mixture.
  4. Store the mixture in the fridge in an airtight container.

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Mint Brownie Sundaes

How do you take the best you thing you ever made and make it better?

Easy, you add a brownie on the bottom and more fudge sauce on top!

After taking a few bites of the mint-fudge ice cream with brownie pieces, I knew how to make it better.  The ice cream is essentially a brownie sundae already, so why not make it into a full on brownie sundae.  A total sundae in a sundae sort of thing.  Sometimes I have really good ideas!

Making the sundae is easy if you have all of the components on hand.  The fudge sauce was  in the fridge left over from the banana cream pie with chocolate and peanut butter and obviously the ice cream was in the freezer.  I heated the fudge sauce on about an inch of water on a small pan to get it back to liquid consistency.  Once I remade the Baked brownies, it was sundae time.

Recipe (If you can call it that!) – small brownie, 1 scoop ice cream, drizzle with fudge sauce, eat and enjoy!

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Crack Pie

Lobster night!!!!!!  For the past three years my roommates, my friends Nicole & Matt, and Christopher have gotten together to indulge in a lobster dinner.  The event started after I confessed to Nicole that I had never had lobster before and she insisted that we buy some lobsters, kill them, and eat them!

The first year we sat on our back deck making a mess of lobsters, potatoes, rolls, corn, salads, and cupcakes.  To be perfectly honest, I didn’t really like the lobster that year!  It was a great dinner party, I just had a hard time swallowing the lobster.  It’s an awesome experience to start the night with a living creature and ending the night eating it’s insides.

The second year went smoother and we lost the unneeded food like starches and I enjoyed the lobster much, much more!  And the most important contribution to the second lobster night was crack pie.  I had only heard about it because of another foodie friend raving about it like crazy and sending me the link to the recipe.  So I made it, I was skeptical, but then we ate it.  And we each had a second piece, and then we stopped cutting pieces and just started eating straight out of the pie tin.  We were crack pie converts!

I have no idea what makes crack pie so incredibly delicious, it just is.  It’s like the feeling you have after eating a delicious dessert in a dessert.  Crack pie is sweet and creamy with the right amount of crunch from the oatmeal cookie crust.  You know you’re making something serious when you bake a cookie for the sole purpose of turning it into crust!  If you don’t believe my description, that’s fine, but please, make yourself some crack pie, and try tell me you’re not a convert!

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Crack Pie
Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook, page 246
Yields – 2 pies (12 pieces each)

Oat Cookie – for the crust
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
75 grams light brown sugar
40 grams sugar
1 egg yolk
80 grams flour
120 grams rolled oats, old fashioned type
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugars for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl and add in the egg yolk, beat to combine for another 2 minutes or until the mixture is white.
  3. Add the dry ingredients on low speed and beat until just combined.
  4. Spread as thin as you can onto the parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. Let cool completely.

Crust
Oat Cookie
15 grams light brown sugar
1 gram salt
4-5 tablespoons melted butter

  1. Break up the oat cookie into small pieces and mix with the brown sugar and salt.
  2. Use a food processor to grind the mix into fine pieces.
  3. Mix the pieces with the melted butter, start with 4 tablespoons, add more as needed, and mix until everything is moistened.
  4. Divide the crust between two greased 10” pie pans and press in evenly.
  5. Place the pie plates on a cookie sheet to collect drips.

Crack Pie
300 grams sugar
180 grams light brown sugar
20 grams milk powder
24 grams cornstarch
6 grams kosher salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8 egg yolks

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix the sugar, brown sugar, milk powder, cornstarch, and salt in in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed until everything is well mixed.
  3. Add in the melted butter and beat for 2-3 minutes or until all the dry ingredients are moist.
  4. Beat in the heavy cream and vanilla for another 2-3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl as needed.  Make sure there are no streaks.
  5. Beat in the yolks until they are just mixed in.  Try not to over beat and add too much air in the mixture.
  6. Pour the mixture between 2 pie crusts and bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Open the oven door for 5 minutes and reduce the heat to 325 F.
  8. Bake the pies for another 5 minutes or until the tops are brown and there is only a slight jiggle when you shake the pan.
  9. Let cool to room temperature and then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze.
  10. Remove from the freezer and cut.  Keep the pies refrigerated.  Garnish with powdered sugar.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake

This cake was kind of a lot of work, but with careful planning and making a few things ahead, it wasn’t too bad!  Here was my schedule:

Mon. – Bake the cake and cheesecake, wrap both in plastic wrap, freeze. (1 hour active time + 3-4 hours baking & cooling time)

Tues. – Make the cookie dough, wrap and freeze. (1/2 hour active time)

Sun. – Make the frosting, assemble, and serve. (1 hour active time)

That really isn’t too much time when you consider this cake can easily serve 20 people, it’s a lot of cake!  Plus, it’s very rich and that is phrase I rarely use.  None of the parts are difficult on their own.  This is the type of baking project I still find challenging and really enjoy!

I made this cake in honor of my roommate Ruth’s birthday.  Her parents were in town visiting for the weekend and I really wanted to make something impressive!  This is an impressive cake!  We enjoyed eating it very much!

My only complaint about the cake was the molasses.  I found the flavor very over powering and I would leave it out next time.  I usually like molasses, but I guess I like the flavor in a spice cookie, not a cheese cake.  Everything else was delicious, especially the cookie dough part!  One tip – let the cake, cheesecake, and cookie dough thaw a bit before assembly.  The frosting was freezing to the side causing to crack when I cut pieces.

Print the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Cake
Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Chocolate Cake
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup hot coffee
1 egg + 1 yolk
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt, I used non-fat
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease the inside of a 9” cake pan (I used my springform) and then place a piece of parchment at the bottom.  Grease the parchment and dust the inside with extra cocoa powder, shake out the extra cocoa powder.
  2. Chop up the chocolate and add it and the cocoa powder to the hot coffee.  Stir to melt the chocolate and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, yogurt, and vanilla.  Add in about half the chocolate mixture and whisk to combine.
  4. In your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, soda, and salt.  Mix on low to combine with the paddle attachment.  Add the butter and the other half of the chocolate mixture and beat on low to combine.
  5. Add the egg mixture in two parts and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  6. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake 25-30 or until the cake is set and then let cool on a wire rack.  After about 10 minutes, remove the cake from the pan.
  7. Trim the top of the cake with a cake leveler so the top is flat.
  8. Once the cake is completely cooled, wrap completely in plastic wrap and freeze.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons cook and serve vanilla pudding mix
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease a 9-in springform pan.  Line the bottom with parchment, grease the parchment, and then dust the inside with flour.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until pale yellow.  Add in the cream cheese a little at a time and beat until well combined.
  3. Scrap down the bowl and add the eggs one at a time and then the pudding, molasses, vanilla, and baking powder.  Mix on medium until everything is well incorporated.  Fold in the chocolate chips by hand.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 50 minutes until the top is set.
  5. Let the cheesecake cool completely in the pan. Use a cake leveler to make the top of the cheesecake flat.
  6. Wrap in plastic and place in the freezer until assembly.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter melted
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons whole milk

  1. Line a 9-in springform pan with plastic wrap with plenty hanging over the side.
  2. Add the flour, salt, brown sugar, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Mix on low until well combined.
  3. Pour in the butter and vanilla and mix until a dry dough forms.  Add in the chocolate chips.
  4. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough becomes soft.
  5. Press into the springform pan and tightly wrap in plastic.  Freeze until assembly.

Buttercream Frosting
1 1/2 (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons molasses
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

  1. Beat together the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment on low to combine everything.  Then beat on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  2. Add in the vanilla, molasses, cocoa, and salt.  Again beat on high until everything is well combined.  Scrap the bowl as needed.

Assembly
Chocolate chips for decoration

  1. Place the chocolate cake on the serving plate.  Places small strips of wax paper under the edges of the cake to assist with clean up.
  2. Spread a small layer of frosting on top of the cake.
  3. Top with the cheesecake.
  4. Top the cheesecake with the cookie dough.
  5. Frost the sides of the cake with an offset spatua.  No need to frost the top.
  6. With a piping bag and a star tip, pip stars on the top edge of the cake, place a chocolate chip in the center of each star. If you want candles on your cake, pipe a big swirl for each candle.  Place the candles in the middle of the swirls.
  7. Remove the wax paper, wipe down the edge of the plate, and pipe stars at the bottom.
  8. Refrigerate until serving.

 

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Single Girl Chocolate Cake

Sometimes life is exhausting and you need a night to lay on the couch, catch up on some tv, and just relax by yourself.  I spent my spring break at the AMNH completing a PD about DNA Barcoding.  Don’t let me fool you, I love me some science!  The past week was fantastic with lab work, talks from scientists, and the encouragement to increase my own pedagogy and professional development.  But my brain hurts and I’m tired.  So when I knew my roommates were going to be out for the evening, I took full advantage.

Joy the Baker is an awesome website!  So many food bloggers are wives or mothers or full time bloggers.  They create beautiful and delicious food and I enjoy their blogs tremendously.  Joy is none of those things, yet she creates beautiful and delicious food! I feel I can relate to her blog more than others, especially when she shows the food she eats alone.  I love her voice and her perspective.  One of the best parts of being single is being able to eat any assortment of foods and call it a meal.  I don’t need to worry about what someone else wants or needs to eat for dinner!  Sometimes you just need recipes for one!  Her cookbook, which I highly recommend, has several.

The cake is spongy and moist and very chocolaty.  This isn’t a diet food!  The ice cream was a decadent addition.  I found these adorable, little, single serving ice creams at Key foods and I couldn’t resist the pistachio!  And, how cute is this?!?!

And it even comes with a little spoon!

Treat yourself, you deserve it!

Print the recipe.

Single Girl Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook pg 170
Yield – 1

cooking spray
2 teaspoons cocoa
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark chocolate chip cookies
1 egg
4 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt
dash of vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon floor
1/2 cup gelato or ice cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray the inside of an oven-proof mug with cooking spray.  Sprinkle the cocoa inside and coat completely, dump out any extra.
  2. Build a double boiler and and add the butter and chocolate chips to a heat-proof bowl. Stir until melted and then let cool slightly.
  3. Whisk together the egg and sugar, pour in the melted chocolate chocolate, whisking until smooth.
  4. Add the flour, salt, and vanilla and stir until just combined.  Poor into the mug.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes (pull the ice cream out of the freezer now!) and then let cool for about 2 minutes.
  6. Use a spatula to get the cake out of the mug and place it on a plate.  Cut open to let the gooeyness out.
  7. Scoop the ice cream on top.
  8. Enjoy curled up on the couch with some trashy tv on.

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Cake Decorating 2 Final Cake + My first giveaway!

I am now a proud graduate of the second Wilton cake decorating course – Flowers and Cake Design!  After the first class, I knew there was more I wanted to learn.  This class introduced gum paste (see Bellini cupcakes), royal icing flowers, and the basket weave.

This cake features the same chocolate cake recipe I have used before, the Wilton chocolate buttercream recipe, and a filling of mint chocolate chip buttercream.  Unfortunately I did not write down the recipe for the filling.  I am really just writing this post to show off my cake!

In honor of my final cake I would like to do a giveaway!  One winner will be chosen at random via http://www.random.org/.  Leave a comment with a sweet message, your favorite thing you have seen on Pale Yellow, or something you would like to see me bake.  The winner will receive cookies made by me!  You must live in the continental US and be able to provide me with a mailing address.  Only one comment per person please!  The winner will be chosen on April 17, 2012 @ 6 pm EST and notified by email.

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