Category Archives: Cake

Roasted Banana Bars and Christmas In July

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Catherine-Ryan
Here I am showing off my new bakers half sheets with lids! It was Christmas in July at my house this week when this surprise gift arrived from my nephew Ryan.  At our recent family reunion Ryan brought four of these bad boys to use and was the envy of every cook in the family!  Now I know envy is a sin, so I will just call it a big dose of enthusiasm that bubbled over as I used Ryan’s pans to make a batch of rice krispie treats.   Ryan used them to bake Pepperoni Bread (recipe coming soon) and outstanding carrot cake bars!

Roasted Banana Bars
Fast forward a couple of weeks and I am home cleaning out my freezer and I pull out six really, really ripe frozen bananas.  What to do, what to do?  I have a Healthified Frosted Banana Bar recipe but I decided to go looking for something “different”. Do you do that sometimes?  You don’t know what you want to bake, you just know you want “something different”?  Well, have you ever roasted bananas?

Roasted Bananas
Yep, you read that right – roasted bananas.  I found the recipe at www.myrecipes.com posted by Lindsay Weiss of Overland Park, Kansas.  She says it came from Cooking Light magazine.  It intrigued me and I was wondering if roasting bananas brings out a richer, deeper flavor.  According to my taste-testers, The Chief and my sous-chef dish-washing mom — these are the best banana bars I’ve ever made! Their words, not mine. :)

Frost Roast Banana Bars
Lindsay’s recipe called for a browned butter pecan frosting.  I opted to put the pecans in the banana bars and leave them out of the frosting.  I didn’t brown the butter because I wanted the creamy texture that comes from combining butter and cream cheese with a little vanilla and powdered sugar.  I also doubled the recipe and instead of baking in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish I baked it in my bakers half sheet pan which is roughly 13″ x 18″.

bakers half sheet lid
Just in case you are wondering what this has to do with the  bakers half sheet baking pans with lids — it was at this point I was wishing I had one of those pans to cover up my beautiful pan of frosted banana bars.  Instead I used foil, which sank a bit in the refrigerator and smooshed my lovely cream cheese frosting. Truly this isn’t an earth-shattering crisis, but it did remind me of the bakers half sheet pans with lids that Ryan had.  I sent him a quick email and asked him to send me the name and information about the sheets.

bakers half sheet label
According to him, when he got my email he thought, “maybe she won’t be able to easily find them in Tennessee, I’ll just send them from Amazon and surprise her.”

bakers half sheet w/lid
Surprise me he did!  These are beautiful pans and the lid kinda “snaps” on but it snaps on the edge of the pan leaving frosting in perfect condition.

Frosted Roast Banana Bars
Here is a link where you can buy them on Amazon.

If you don’t have bananas on hand now, print out this recipe, buy some bananas and let them get over-ripe.  In the meantime you can order these pans and before you know it you will be roasting bananas too!

Have a blessed and happy 4th of July weekend,
Catherine
2 Corinthians 3:17

“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

Romans 8:21

“… that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

John 8:32

“… and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”


Roasted Banana Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield: 24-30 bars

Roasted Banana Bars With Cream Cheese Frosting

Roasting bananas first brings out a richness that makes these bars outstanding!

Ingredients

    Roasted bananas:
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas (about 6 medium)
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • Cake ingredients:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (non-fat or regular)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans
  • Frosting:
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Milk to desired consistency

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine sliced bananas, brown sugar and butter in a 9" x 13" baking pan, roast at 400 degrees F. for 35 minutes, stirring about half way through. Cool slightly.
  3. Reduce the oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. In the bowl of the electric mixer combine butter and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until well mixed.
  5. Combine flours, baking soda, pecans, and baking powder, in the bowl of the electric mixer.
  6. Combine cooled roasted bananas with buttermilk and vanilla.
  7. Alternate banana mixture and flour mixture into the butter/sugar/eggs in electric mixer until all ingredients are combined.
  8. Pour batter into a bakers half sheet that has been prepared with baking spray. Bake at 375 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
  9. Prepare frosting: Combine butter and cream cheese in bowl of electric mixer. Beat until well combined. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat well. Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Frost cooled banana bars and enjoy!

Notes

Vanilla Coffee-Mate is an excellent substitute for the milk in the frosting.

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

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Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes 2
Today is the 3rd anniversary of my first blog post. At first I thought about saying something like, “it seems like only yesterday” that I started writing and sharing with the world via the internet.  But that isn’t true. It seems like I have written this blog for a long time. When I push the Publish button today it will be my 513th blog post.

I have learned so much along the way. This includes a lot of technical blogging detail and how I can find wi-fi just about any place we travel! But most importantly I have learned that words matter.  That words I write (and speak) carry weight and there are implications and consequences when I share those words.

I’ve come to realize that sharing scripture is more than just re-printing words written from a particular version of the Bible.  That the scripture I share and the comments I make touch people’s lives.  From your comments, emails, and support I’ve come to think of you more than friends and much like traveling companions that I care deeply about.

I thank you for taking time to travel this road with me. Today this blog averages between 150 and 200 views per day.  I am humbled when I think about those of you who stop by for a quick read, search for a tried-and-true recipe, or read a scripture that has guided me and is guiding me daily.

“When we consider the blessings of God—the gifts that add beauty and joy to our lives, that enable us to keep going through stretches of boredom and even suffering – friendship is very near the top.”

—Donald W. McCullough, Mastering Personal Growth

Deuteronomy 5:32-33

You shall be careful therefore to do as the Lord your God has commanded you. You shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land that you shall possess.

strawberry cake single
I like strawberries.  A lot. I particularly like them in the spring and early summer when they come fresh from Florida, California, or my brother-in-law’s garden (hint-hint). Last Easter I made a fresh strawberry cake that is packed with flavor, incredibly moist and embarrassingly sweet!

Remember when I told you I planned to take fresh strawberry cupcakes to my friend Gaye, but she beat me to the punch bringing me Whole Wheat Almond Butter Sandwich cookies first?  Well, these were the cupcakes I was baking to take to her!

fresh strawberry cupcake cooling
I was concerned that the Fresh Strawberry Cake recipe would be too dense in cupcake form.  So I used this basic recipe, cutting out some of the oil and adding a little more fresh strawberries.

single strawberry cupcake
They turned out just perfect!  Really moist but not too much so!

Strawberry cupcake bite
I intended to give this one to my sweet Chief Culinary Consultant.  But after one bite (for the picture) I couldn’t stop myself.  It was gone before I knew what I had done. :(

strawberry cupcake mom
As I was dividing them up to go to the neighbors I asked my sous-chef dish-washing mom if she would like one for a snack that afternoon.  She said, “Well, it would be better to have one available and not want it, than to want one and not have it.”  Huh?  Okay, this one I made for her and set it aside if she wanted it.   She did.

strawberry cupcakes 3
If you and your family like strawberries, do yourself (and them) a favor and make these wonderful cupcakes!  You will be glad you did.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading this blog, sharing with family and friends, and sharing your comments and recipes with me!

Happy Baking,
Catherine

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes Just In Time For My 3rd Blogoversary!

These cupcakes will turn any ordinary day into a party!

Ingredients

    Cake batter
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, mashed
  • 1 small box dry strawberry jello
  • Strawberry Icing
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 4 to 6 cups powdered sugar (depending on preference of frosting stiffness)
  • 1/4 cup strawberries, mashed

Directions

  1. Mix all cake batter ingredients and pour into 24 muffin tins lined with cupcake liners.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  3. While the cake is baking, make the icing.
  4. Mix together all icing ingredients until smooth. Add powdered sugar and strawberry mash to your desired consistency. Mix well before adding more sugar or strawberries.
  5. Once cake is cooled, spread the icing on the cupcakes.
  6. Store the cake in the refrigerator. The cupcakes are best when chilled for at least 2 hours before serving. Remove from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.

Notes

Any buttercream or cream cheese frosting can be used.

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Welcome Home Pecan Cobbler

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Pecan Cobbler
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— 1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV

While the Chief was away last week in NYC, my sous-chef dish-washing mom and I ate at a local Italian restaurant.  The sign at the door said DESSERTS:  Pecan Cobbler.  Okay, I may live in the south but I grew up in Nebraska and cobbler and I don’t go way back.  Mom says she used to make peach cobbler and cherry cobbler when I was a kid.  I have zero recollection of either one.  Could be because I don’t eat cherry-anything and peach isn’t my favorite.  But pecan cobbler?  Neither of us had ever heard of it.

We ate chicken salad (me) and Bowtie Pomodoro (mom).  Too full for dessert we decided to take a helping of Pecan Cobbler home to eat later in the day.  Oh my word was it good!  Gooey pecan filling, very similar to pecan pie, but scooped into a bowl with a cobbler topping mixed about.

I couldn’t wait to find the recipe and make a whole panful!  I searched and researched, compared and printed out several recipes.  I looked at pictures throughout the internet and Pinterest.  Most of the cobbler recipes I found were just pecan pie made in a baking dish.  That wasn’t what I wanted.

pecan cobbler upclose
I kept coming across this recipe that calls for a cake mix and only has 5 ingredients.  The recipe I used came from Just A Pinch website and was shared by Patsy Fowler of Anderson, SC.  Only 5 ingredients intrigued me and I decided to make it for the home-coming of my sweetheart.

He arrived home safely, I am thrilled to have him home.  He is thrilled to be eating Pecan Cobbler. :) I doubled the pecans from 1 cup to 2 cups and I am glad I did.  In a 9″ x 13″ pan I think 1 cup of pecans would have been too few.  The next time I make it I may add a little vanilla in the butter/pecan mixture but all in all this is fabulous!

Happy Baking!
Catherine

Welcome Home Pecan Cobbler

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Welcome Home Pecan Cobbler

Ooo-la-la a wonderfully gooey, tasty, and delicious dessert. Feeds a crowd and is ready to bake in 5 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups pecans, whole, half or chopped
  • 1 pkg white cake mix
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups hot water
  • OPTIONAL: Ice cream or Whipped Cream

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a 9x13 inch cake pan or casserole dish, place the butter and put in the oven to melt.
  3. Once butter is melted, add vanilla and sprinkle the pecans over the butter.
  4. Spread the dry cake mix evenly over pecans, do not stir.
  5. Next spread the brown sugar over the cake mix.
  6. Carefully pour the hot water over the mixture, do not stir.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Best served warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
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Popcorn Cake For Family and Friends

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slice popcorn cake
I received an email this evening from my friend Cheryl sharing this scripture. Just getting ready to write this blog post I decided these words are the perfect way to begin. Such powerful words to lean on!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Over some cookie decorating during the Thanksgiving weekend, my niece Alesa told us about her mom’s “Popcorn Cake.”  Whhhaattt?  I said, popcorn cake?  Alesa went on to say that my sister-in-law Jeanne has been making this cake for years and now makes 15 or more each Christmas!  It seems that each time she made the cake and gave it to someone they wanted their name on the list for a cake the next year, and the year after that …. and, well you get the idea.

popcorn cake ingred
It is very possible that you already know about popcorn cake, but me, I’ve never heard this before.  So we did what all curious cooks do … we made a quick Facetime call to Jeanne and she shared the details.  An air popper is a must since the popcorn needs to be made without butter or oil.  Marshmallows, margarine, and the goodies.  Jeanne suggests M & M’s – plain or peanut, or hot tamales or any favorite little candies.

popcorn in angel pan
The popcorn is measured by filling up an angel food cake pan to slightly overflowing.  In a large bowl microwave margarine and marshmallows just for 1 to 2 minutes until they are all melted.  Mix in the popcorn, sprinkle in some M&M’s and then pack it back into the greased angel food pan.   Couldn’t be easier.  Before adding the popcorn/marshmallow mixture back to the pan I sprinkled crushed candy cane over the bottom of the cake pan.  Makes it pretty and tasty when the cake is inverted.

cake slicing 2
The popcorn and marshmallow will set up over a couple of hours, but it must be left to cool and set up well or it will fall apart when it is unmolded from the cake pan.  Plus — this is important — the cake needs to be cut with an electric knife so that it won’t squish as it is sliced.

cake slicing 1
It is best eaten within the first 24 hours.  But honestly, it won’t last that long.  By the way — I have made this cake using Rice Krispies and it was outstanding too! Kids of all ages will love munching on this treat!

popcorn christmas cake
Happy Popping!
Catherine

Popcorn Cake

Popcorn Cake

Food for fun, plain and simple, but not plain and simple tasting!

Ingredients

  • 1 Angel Food Cake Pan
  • 1 Air Popcorn Popper
  • 10 oz. Bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 5 Tablespoons margarine
  • 3/4 Cup M & M's - plain or peanut
  • 1 cup Crushed Candy Canes

Directions

  1. Pop enough corn to slightly over-fill the angel food cake pan.
  2. Spray cake pan with oil. If desired cover bottom with crushed candy canes.
  3. Melt margarine in a large microwave safe bowl. Add mini-marshmallows. Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Marshmallows should be melted when stirred. If not, microwave for another few seconds.
  4. Add popcorn to melted butter/marshmallow mixture. Stir well.
  5. Add M&M's, stirring well.
  6. Hand pack the popcorn mixture into the angel food cake pan.
  7. Let cake set until it is cooled and well-formed. Do not remove from cake pan too soon as it will fall apart when unmolded. This will take at least an hour.
  8. When set, unmold on a cake plate. Using an electric knife carefully cut the cake into individual slices.

Notes

Let your imagine run wild! Add hot tamales, or other favorite colorful candy!

Rice Krispie cereal can be used in place of popcorn.

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July 4th Menu Planning

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With the 4th of July celebration sneaking up on us this week I have seen all kinds of yummy and sometimes really cute menu items.

redwhiteblue marshmallows
From the website Real Women of Philadelphia comes these cute little marshmallow pops that feature a Tub of SNACK DELIGHTS Dark Chocolate.  Occasionally I post recipes on this site and I love all the recipes featuring various Philadelphia cream cheese products.

fruit pizza half red blue
Fruit pizza is one of my favorite celebratory treats featuring the summer’s bounty of fresh fruits! Besides that, it is very easy to make!

Monkey Bread Caramlized

I can’t pass by a holiday morning brunch without including Monkey Bread! I made this batch recently for my visiting sister-in-law.  She liked it so much I made another before she left! :)  If you have kids that want to join you in the kitchen monkey bread is easy to make and perfect for little hands to join in.

IMG_8059-e1340749471518

Last year I came across this layered jello from Our Best Bites. I adore this picture!  I printed out the recipe and have had it in my to-do pile of recipes for over a year.  Sadly, I haven’t gotten it made it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it this year for the 4th!  Click on the picture for the link to the recipe!

baked roast chicken
My plans for the holiday include this Beer Can Roasted Chicken, a Fried Green Tomato Casserole, with a Fresh Strawberry Cake chaser!

strawberry cake finished
A festive food-feast!  Happy Cooking,
Catherine

P.S.  If you are serving up corn-on-the-cob, don’t forget to check out my blog post on getting the silk off fast and easy!

 

 

 

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