Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Cake

Greek yogurt is SO in right now.  It’s a great healthy replacement for butter in cake recipes and actually makes the cake very moist.

This recipe is delicious,  low-fat and super easy to make.

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup low-fat greek yogurt
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For Icing:

  • 6 ounces low-fat cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

Directions:

For Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease a 9 by 11 glass baking dish.
  2. Mix together pumpkin, yogurt, egg whites, sugar and vanilla.
  3. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, flour salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix well at a low speed.
  4. Pour batter into the baking dish and bake for 25-30 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean from the center)
  5. Let cool completely before icing the cake

For Icing:

  1. Cream together the cream cheese and vanilla with a mixer
  2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar
  3. Spread mixture evenly over the cake
  4. Top with the pecans
Advertisements

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Apple Crumb Cake

Who doesn’t love Cinnamon Toast Crunch? Seriously, if you don’t like it please leave my blog immediately and never come back.

This past weekend I went apple picking at Wilkens Farm right outside of NYC (see this post to read more about it) and came home with 10 pounds of apples. I’ve wanted to bake something with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for a while and this seemed like a great combination.

This is an adaptation of a recipe on Food Network and it.is.amazing. The cake is really moist and the cereal compliments the apple in the cake perfectly. Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups peeled and chopped apples

Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup crushed Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cereal
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 13×9 inch glass baking pan with 1 tablespoon of butter
  3. With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in each egg slowly. Add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Mix well.
  4. Add in the sour cream and vanilla. Mix.  Slowly add in the apples with the mixer at a low-speed.
  5. Pour into the baking dish.
  6. To make the crumble: Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter and half of the cereal in a small bowl. Mix until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Spread evenly over the cake batter in the baking dish.  Sprinkle the rest of the cereal over the top.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. For the glaze: Combine sugar, vanilla and warm water in a bowl.  Mix until smooth.  Drizzle over cake.
  9. Let cool for at least 40 minutes.
  10. ENJOY!

Red Velvet Cookies

So, red velvet cake is kind of my favorite thing, ever…in life.

My birthday cakes are always red velvet, my wedding cake will be red velvet..I will name my first-born child Red Velvet. IT’S THAT SERIOUS.

And so, from my odd obsession…red velvet cookies were born. Please love, cherish and devour these little pieces of heaven like they’re your own. Okay, this is getting weird. But seriously, make these.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Red food coloring, liquid works better than the gel
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. With a mixer, cream the butter and sugars.  Add in several drops of food coloring to get a deep red color.
  3. Slowly incorporate the rest of the ingredients (except the white chocolate chips) until completely mixed.  Add more red food coloring as needed to get a deep red color.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop rounded tablespoons of the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  With the back of a spoon, flatten out the cookie dough into disks.
  6. Bake for 9-11 minutes

Blueberry Pie

Happy Birthday, America!….This one’s for you.

This was perfect for an Independence Day cookout but will also work for all types of gatherings in the Summer. You can decorate using any type of pie/cookie cutters that you can find (or keep it simple with a traditional pie crust).

Pie Crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, chilled and cut into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons half & half or cream

Pie Filling:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries, washed and with stems removed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Directions:

  1. FOR CRUST: In a food processor, blend the flour, salt and sugar.  Add butter and process until it’s a coarsely mixed.  Pour in the water and process for another 30 seconds.
  2. Take the dough out and put it onto a floured surface.  Form dough into two, equal sized disks.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  3. After an hour, remove and put one disk on a floured surface.  Roll the pastry into a 12 inch circle (roll from the center out to create a circle).  Place dough into pie dish.  Put this back into the refrigerator.
  4. Take out the second disk and roll it out into another 12 inch circle.  Using pie cutters, cut out shapes for the top of the pie.  Transfer the cut out shapes to a sheet of wax paper and put back in the refrigerator.
  5. FOR THE FILLING: In a bowl, mix together the blueberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and zest.
  6. PIE ASSEMBLY: Pour this mixture into the prepared pie shell.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together the egg yolk and cream.
  8. Brush the rim of the pie shell with the yolk mixture.
  9. Cover the top of the pie with your crust cut outs.
  10. Brush these with the remaining yolk mixture.
  11. Put the pie back in the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
  12. COOKING THE PIE: Preheat the oven to 400F.  Place the pie on a baking sheet.  Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400F.  After 20 minutes, reduce temperature to 350F and cook for another 40 minutes (or until the crust is browned and the juices are bubbling)
  13. Allow the pie to cool for 1-2 hours before cutting then…ENJOY! 🙂

Peanut Butter Cup Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

A match made in heaven? I think so.

Seriously, throw a peanut butter cup in anything and it becomes just a bit better.  It’s your basic chocolate chip cookie recipe and store-bought Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (honestly, if you’re super lazy you can buy packaged or refrigerated cookie dough and I doubt anyone would  notice..or care for that matter)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 sticks of butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (you’ll need about 20 of them)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Combine all ingredients to make the cookie dough (besides the Reese’s). Mix well until fully incorporated.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball.  Place the Reese’s on top and press into the dough.  Then take another tablespoon of dough and cover the exposed side of the Reese’s.
  4. Make sure all parts of the peanut butter cup is covered with dough. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 7 minutes
  6. Let it cook and…enjoy!

Brown Sugar Pound Cake with Espresso Cream Frosting

Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a in a Nespresso taste testing hosted by Zagat with the special guest host Padma Lakshmi from Top Chef! We tried three different espresso flavors and Padma pointed out their culinary compliments and distinct features.

As one of the participants in the testing, I got an ABSOLUTELY AMAZING Nespresso machine that I’m now completely obsessed with.  No lie, I use it every..single..day.  I’ve made everything from lattes to cappuccinos and, naturally, I’m now incorporating it into my baking.

Pound cake is one of my personal favorites and I think using brown sugar instead of regular white sugar really compliments the espresso flavors in the cake and frosting.  Like I said, I’m kind of obsessed with my Nespresso machine so you may see a lot of  “espresso-themed” desserts coming your way.  Get excited.

*Useless Note: This one smelled EXTRA amazing while it was baking so…enjoy 🙂

Ingredients: 

For Cake:

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups (2.5 sticks) butter, softened
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon brewed espresso (I used the Indriya blend with my Nespresso machine)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For Icing:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 teaspoons brewed espresso (I used the Indriya blend with my Nespresso machine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions

Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan
  3. Beat together sugar and butter until creamy
  4. Beat in eggs, espresso and vanilla
  5. Gradually add in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour into baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  7. Let the cake cool completely before removing from pan.

For Frosting:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat, add sugar
  2. Add in milk.  Mix until smooth.  Bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. In a mixer, combine liquid mixture with powdered sugar, vanilla and espresso.
  5. Keep mixing until light and fluffy.
  6. Cover cake with frosting.

Black Bean Brownies

Bikini season is here and in full effect.

These black bean brownies are full of protein, gluten-free and a great substitute for real brownies. I like this recipe because they’re really moist and pureeing the beans in the food processor makes them much more “brownie like.”

Enjoy these and flaunt that hot beach body all summer long 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups canned black beans (a little over 1 can)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan.
  3. In a food processor, combine the beans and eggs. Puree until smooth.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the bean/egg purée with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth.
  5. Pour into the baking pan.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting and serving.

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

It’s finally warm outside! Yahoooooo!

Let’s celebrate with some Pineapple Upside Down Cake.  It’s amazing and moist and just so, so pretty.

Here’s to enjoying the warm weather and having a great bikini body this season…uhhh wait a second…

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 9 slices pineapple (canned pineapple in juice is best)
  • 9 maraschino cherries without stems
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350F
  2. Melt butter and pour into a 9-inch square baking pan.
  3. Evenly spread brown sugar over the melted butter.
  4. Arrange pineapple slices over butter/sugar mixture. Put a cherry in the center of each pineapple hole.
  5. Combine and mix the remaining ingredients.  Beat with an electric mixer at medium/high speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour batter over pineapples.
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Immediately place a heat proof serving plate on top of the baking pan (see picture)…then turn plate and pan over.
  9. Leave the pan over the cake for 10 minutes to let the brown sugar and pineapple juices soak into the cake.
  10. Remove the pan and ENJOY 🙂

Birthday Cake Oreo Funfetti Cheesecake

Yes, this happened.

First of all, I’d like to thank Oreo, Nabisco and Kraft Foods for giving us 100 years of this tasty treat.  Let’s be honest, a “girls night” isn’t complete without a good romantic comedy (The Notebook, Love Actually and Wedding Crashers are my personal favorites)  and a package of Double Stuff Oreos…so for all those nights I thank you.

Anyways, back to the matter at hand. You really can’t go wrong with funfetti ANYTHING so when it’s combined with Birthday Cake Oreos and Cheesecake it’s pretty much a home run.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Birthday Cake Oreos (or any other type)
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups Funfetti Cake Mix

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250F
  2. Line cupcake pan with foil or paper liners
  3. Place one Oreo in each liner
  4. Mix cream cheese for 3 minutes
  5. Add in sugar, vanilla, eggs and sour cream. Mix until creamy.
  6. Add in Funfetti cake mix, mix on low-speed for 1 minute.
  7. Fill each cupcake liner to top with batter.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Let them cool for about 10 minutes then put them in the fridge for about 3 hours.

Makes 18 mini cheesecakes

Chocolatey Date Truffles

Before I begin, this is a healthy dessert. So, if you’re one of those anti-healthy, non-working out, naturally skinny freaks…stop reading now. Oh, and I hate you.

If you’ve made it to this paragraph, I’m sorry.  But, like you, I also have to work at being healthy and eating right. My weakness, as you may have guessed, is sweets. Generally, I’m not one to take the healthy route…I like butter and I’M NOT AFRAID TO USE IT.  There are those times, however, when you have that craving but don’t want to completely ruin your healthy streak.  These little truffles are perfect because they actually taste really good (trust me..I don’t lie about things like this), are actually healthy (no sugar, eggs, or flour!) and are easy to make. Enjoy!

My dad..trying to look candid but very clearly posing for the picture I forced him to take.

I made a few changes so my recipe is below but you can find Food Network’s original one here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried, pitted dates (chopped in small pieces)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup (or honey)
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter (or peanut butter)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 full sheets reduced fat honey graham crackers, finely ground
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened coconut (for coating)

Directions:

  1. Combine dates, water and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.  Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Break up and large piece of date with a spoon.
  2. Stir in agave syrup, cashew butter, cocoa powder, butter and salt.  Stir until well combined.
  3. Stir in graham cracker, oats and almonds.  Remove from heat.
  4. Mist a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.  Drop rounded tablespoons of mixture on to baking sheet.  Refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  5. Put coconut flakes in a small bowl and roll truffles to coat.
  6. Keep truffles in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.