Tag Archives: cake

Microwave Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

This cake can be made in 2 minutes!

This cake can be made in 2 minutes

I’m traveling and visiting family at the moment, so this will be short and sweet!  As some of you might have already seen, there are a ton of cake in the mug recipes all over the web.  They are wonderful for college kids whose only cooking appliance is a microwave.  But I have been having fun making versions of this cake for my breakfasts.  Now that it’s so cold, I haven’t been having my protein smoothie as often.  I was also inspired by fellow blogger Wild Blue Wonder’s yummy pumpkin oats and sometimes make the cake with oats.

You can improvise with the recipe, substituting almond meal, rice flour, or other flour in place of the flour or oats and make it gluten free.  Here is a Paleo gluten free chocolate one that sounds good.

I used pumpkin puree, some almond meal, and a bit of TJ’s multigrain pancake mix.  I cook mine in a large ramekin.  Because I use so little flour, it has a real moist texture that is close to a bread pudding.  It’s so warm and comforting and delicious.

pumpkin cake

Hope everyone (in the U.S.)  has a wonderful Thanksgiving Thursday!  If you don’t celebrate, you can still enjoy some whipped cream with a piece of pumpkin pie. 🙂


Microwave Pumpkin Breakfast Cake

pumpkin cake close 2

2 tablespoons pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon plain yogurt

1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, other oil, or melted butter

2 tablespoons liquid egg white (or just use an egg)

cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to taste

sprinkle of stevia or 2 teaspoons sugar

couple drops of vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon almond meal

1 tablespoon pancake mix

(alternatively, use 2 tablespoons flour, GF flour, or other flour or combination)

1.  Mix all ingredients in a mug and microwave for about 1 minute and 30 seconds, checking after a minute.  Depends on the strength of your microwave.

Another way to do it is to mix everything in a bowl and transfer to a ramekin sprayed with nonstick spray and then microwave.

Makes one small single serving.  It’s so yummy with pumpkin butter smeared on top! 🙂


Filed under Breakfast, Vegetarian

Amaretto Cream Crepe Cake

About 20 layers of crepes in here…


We visited Jamie’s grandparents again for Labor Day weekend.

On the way to the beach during my daily three mile walk on the island.

The weather was beautiful, and we had such a wonderful time with them!

We love having dinner together on the porch and playing word games while we eat, like I Spy, Pass Around (everyone takes turns making up and continuing a story), and Rhyme Around (we tell part of a story and give the next person a hint of the rhyme — OK, this one is tricky!)

This time I got to make a couple of meals during our visit.  They requested the Roasted Veggie and Brie Frittata again, which is so easy and wonderful to make with fresh local produce.  For dessert, I made an Amaretto Cream Crepe Cake.

Crepe cakes look impressive, but they really aren’t difficult to make — they just take a bit of preparation.  Basically you make a boatload of crepes, layer them with ganache, preserves, whipped cream, or whatever you can dream up, then frost with your choice of toppings.

I’ve made this beautiful one in the past which is covered in ganache, layered with ganache and raspberry jam,  and decorated with truffles from the leftover chocolate.  My husband loved it, but I thought it was too dense and rich.  So I decided to make a whipped cream covered one.  I opted to spike the cream with almond extract and Amaretto because my mother-in-law loves Amaretto, and they happened to have a huge bottle of it in the pantry! 🙂  I decorated the whole thing with roasted, sliced almonds.

The finished cake with toasted almonds.

When I told my father-in-law I might post the recipe on this blog, he said I should call it “What to Make Your In-laws When You Visit”.  🙂

Thank you, Didi and Mimette for another lovely time!

Amaretto Cream Crepe Cake


6 large eggs

1 ½ cups milk

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

Melted butter for skillet

Amaretto Cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

3 ½ tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur

½ cup toasted, sliced almonds

  1. Blend crepe ingredients except butter in a blender.  Brush a large skillet with melted butter and place over medium heat.  Pour scant ¼ cup batter into skillet and swirl to evenly coat the bottom.  When the top of the crepe is no longer shiny, after about 1 minute, carefuly flip and cook other side for about 40 seconds.
  2. Make many more crepes in this manner, stacking them on a plate until all the batter is gone.  Cool crepes to room temperature. You can also store them in the refrigerator until ready to assemble.
  3. Make Amaretto Cream.  Whip cream and sugar together until thickened.  Add almond extract and amaretto gradually.  Continue to whip until stiff peaks form.  You can also store the cream in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the cake.
  4. Assemble Crepe Cake.  Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper on the bottom.  Reserve about ½ of the amaretto cream, set aside.  With the remaining cream, build cake in the following manner:  Spread a dollop of amaretto cream on a crepe and place into cake pan.  Continue to spread crepe with cream and layer in pan in this manner.  When you get to the last crepe, place on top of layers in pan without spreading cream on top (because you are going to flip it and it will be on the bottom of the cake).   Press gently on top of the layers to smooth out (you will probably have a dome shaped cake).  Chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.  You could probably even make the cake up to here the day before serving.  Note:  I’ve seen other methods where you just stack the crepes on a plate and call it a day, so it’s your choice.  I think you get a better shape with the cake pan though. 
  5. Remove cake from the pan by cutting around perimeter to loosen.  Then place a large plate on top and flip cake out of pan onto plate.  Frost with remaining amaretto cream and decorate with sliced almonds.


Filed under Desserts, Travel

Boys Can Bake Too (and Create Candy Sushi)!

Do you remember Easy Bake Ovens?  They still make them, though I don’t know if they still are pink or have pink trim (they probably do).  My son wanted one for Christmas/Hannukah last year, and I said, “No, Hon.” But not because it is marketed as a “girl toy”.  It’s because we have a really great Cuisinart toaster oven with convection feature and “we don’t need no stinkin’ Easy Bake Oven” that probably has a light bulb to bake miniature cakes!

Instead we gave him this bake set I got a long time ago at FAO Schwarz when he was a baby and had completely forgotten about.  I always dreamed of baking with him even before he could talk.  Lucky for me, seven years later, he loves to bake!   So I was really happy when I rediscovered this set buried in Denis’ closet.

Glad J didn't notice the gender stereotyping on package!

It irritated me that it was marketed only to girls, but luckily, Jamie didn’t seem to notice or care. At least the packaging wasn’t all pink and magenta…  We quickly dumped the box, and I put the utensils in a bag to be stored in my baking cabinet.

The Boutique Bakery set includes a spatula, a whisk, a rolling pin, mixing bowls, a wooden spoon, a muffin tin, three bread pans, cookie cutters, toothpicks (for testing) and muffin liners — all mini sized!

To test out the set, we first made a Mini Chocolate Loaf.  I used Anna’s recipe from Cookie Madness and halved it.  Instead of ganache, we just covered the loaves with chocolate chips.  We baked it in the Cuisinart and I let him press the buttons to set the temperature.

The Mini Chocolate Loaf came out out beautifully.  The crumb was moist, the flavor great, and because it was so small, it was the perfect size for all three of us.

Then, the last week,  I discovered a half batch of  cookie dough buried not in our closet (yikes!) but in our freezer from the holidays!  Do you see a pattern here…?  I thawed it in the refrigerator, and when Jamie had a play date with his friend, Lucas (who also loves to bake) we used it to make cookies.  The child sized rolling pin was perfect for rolling out their doughs.  I had them working on parchment paper and covered the dough with saran wrap to keep it from sticking.  Then they cut out shapes using the mini cookie cutters from the bake set.  I chilled the dough for awhile, then baked them.

Sprinkles decorating station

For decorating, I was too lazy to make frosting, and I was planning to use Nutella instead, when I discovered someone had been eating it late at night so we didn’t have enough… So we improvised and used raspberry preserves instead.  It actually tasted quite delicious in place of frosting or Nutella!

Some of the boys' decorated cookies

Though it isn’t really baking per se, Jamie requested that I share his most recent sweet creation on my blog.  I aspire to avoid being one of those parents who think everything their kid does is amazing, so I don’t put everything up that he wants me to, believe me!  But this one was kind of cute and it ties into this theme of cooking not being a girls only activity. And he came up with the whole thing independently of me (I was otherwise occupied with my daily Ken Ken!)

I present to you — Jamie’s Candy Sushi:

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I guess it says something about our household that we have a ton of random candy lying around — mostly due to Denis who has a wicked sweet tooth!  We keep it in a container with the marshmallows.  So the other night, Jamie asked if he could have a marshmallow, an orange jelly candy, one Lindt truffle, and two chocolate sticks.  Typing it all out, it sounds like an outrageous amount of sugar, but they were all pretty small! The next thing I knew, he was cutting the marshmallow, truffle, and orange candy into pieces  and making a “tableau” as he called it.  It turned out to be dessert sushi.

chopsticks are edible!

I’m so glad I have a little baker who shares my passion for creating yummy things in the kitchen!

Chocolate Mini Loaf

Adapted from Cookie Madness

I halved the recipe, used milk in place of buttermilk and omitted chocolate ganache.

nonstick spray
1.4 cup cake flour (2 oz.)
1/4 cup granulated sugar (2.25 oz.)
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lightly beaten egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons brewed coffee, cooled
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray one 3×5 inch mini loaf pan nonstick spray (I also lined the bottom with parchment paper).
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small yet deep mixing bowl and stir very well. Add the soft butter and mix with the flour mixture. Stir in the milk. Stir mixture vigorouslyfor about two minutes, scraping sides of bowl, until smooth.
  3. Mix the lightly beaten egg, vanilla and cooled coffee together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add to the batter in three parts, stirring gently with a spoon until mixed. Stir in half of the chocolate chips. Then sprinkle remaining chips on top.  Bake on center rack at 325 F for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan set on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then carefully turn from pan.

Dessert Sushi

Adapted from Jamie

1 Marshmallow

1 Lindt White Chocolate Truffle

1 Orange jelly candy or other soft candy, cut into pieces

2 chocolate sticks (Pocky would work too)

1.  Cut marshmallow and truffle in half.
2.  Scoop out some of the filling from the truffle and  set aside.

3.  Top marshmallow with candy pieces.  Then top with filling from truffle.

4.  Eat with chocolate sticks


Filed under Children, Cookies, Desserts

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Ganache Frosting

I love American layer cakes.  The combination of a moist cake crumb with creamy frosting makes me swoon.  They way the layers are thick and stacked tall, slathered with rich frosting is typically American.  Unlike their European counterparts,  American cakes are huge, sweet, and filling.  To me, they evoke images of diners, films from the 50s, and general Americana.  I missed them when I lived abroad.

Another very “American” food is peanut butter.  My friends from Europe and Japan just don’t have the same relationship with peanut butter as my American ones.  They tend to not like it — or at least are not passionate about it!  For me, if there’s anything I am addicted to, as in:  I eat it every day and usually multiple times a day, I would have to say it’s peanut butter.  I really can eat it on just about anything, as it goes with savory (eg. peanut noodles)  and sweet flavors.

Since I eat it so often I try to be careful about portion size because it’s so easy to eat tablespoon after tablespoon of it!  I’ve also experimented with combining it with peanut flour with great results (nutty flavor with fiber, protein and less fat).

Trader Joe's no longer carries it, but you can get it at southerngracefarms.com

So when I came across this recipe for Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze, I knew I just had to make it.  The combination of bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate are just too good to resist — the perfect trifecta!

There are a few changes I made to the recipe to lighten it up a bit.  The first was that I halved the cake recipe and baked it in a cute 6-inch pan.  Un-American?  Perhaps.  But a small layer cake is just SO cute, and I figured with the richness of this cake, the smaller portions would be healthier.

See the difference between a cute 6-inch pan and a 9-inch pan?

I didn’t have buttermilk so I substituted some yogurt and milk mixed together.  Also, I made less peanut butter filling since it was a smaller cake and lightened it by using peanut flour along with the peanut butter, less sugar, and I omitted the heavy cream.  In place of the butter based glaze, I made my favorite Chocolate Ganache Frosting — which is pretty much like a chocolate truffle, but I couldn’t help myself.

With the peanut butter frosting before the chocolate ganache entered the picture.

The final product was a very moist, dense cake full of banana flavor coupled with creamy peanut butter and luscious chocolate.  I loved that the cake wasn’t HUGE.  It still would easily serve eight to ten people, but the portions aren’t Cadillac sized.  Because the cake has all the other qualities of a rich, decadent American cake (even with the few lightened tweaks),  the un-American portion sizes definitely don’t leave you feeling unsatisfied!

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Filling and Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Adapted from: http://www.takingonmagazines.com/

Note:  If you want to make a true American sized cake, double the cake, filling and frosting recipes and bake in 2 8-inch pans for 35-40 minutes.

Banana Cake

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½  teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large eggs
1 1/2 overripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk or ¼ nonfat plain yogurt plus ¼ cup milk

Peanut Butter Filling

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

½ cup peanut butter (or ¼ cup peanut butter plus 40 grams of peanut flour and 2 oz. almond milk)

¼ cup confectioner’s sugar

extra milk if needed

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

4 oz. chopped semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, or a mix

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 1 6-inch by 2-inch cake pan. Line bottom with parchment.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy for about two minutes. Add the egg one at a time, beating well after addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed. Mix in the bananas and vanilla extract.
  4. Slowly add in flour mixture and alternate with buttermilk (or yogurt) mixture, starting and ending with flour mixture – about 3 times.
  5. Pour batter into cake pan.  Tap on counter to get rid of air bubbles.  Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour until skewer poked in center comes out clean.  I would start checking at 45 minutes because ovens vary.
  6. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from cake pans. Cool completely before frosting.

For the Peanut Butter Filling

    1.  Cream the butter and peanut butter (or peanut butter plus peanut flour almond milk mixture) together in a large bowl. Add the powdered sugar and milk if needed. Mix well.
    2.  Add either more milk or sugar to reach the desired consistency.

For the Chocolate Ganache Frosting

  1. Chop chocolate and place in a medium sized bowl.  Bring heavy cream to a boil in a small saucepan.  Pour cream over chopped chocolate in bowl.  Add corn syrup.  Let sit for 3 minutes.  Whisk to incorporate until chocolate is silky smooth with no streaks.  Add vanilla and stir with a spoon.
  2. Place in refrigerator for about  30 minutes stirring once halfway and again after 30 minutes.

To assemble cake

  1. Cut cooled banana cake in half with a serrated knife.
  2. Place four strips of parchment on cake dish and place first layer on top (this will keep your plate clean).  Cover with peanut butter filling.  Place second layer on top.  Frost cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting.  Remove parchment paper.


Filed under Desserts