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Favorites of 2011 and Happy Birthday to me!!!

It’s the last day of 2011.  This year I started a blog (!!) and met all of you– what a fun year!

Easybaked began in March at the urging of many friends…. since then I have become a fan of many of your blogs and marveled at your creative recipes, beautiful photos and funny stories.

It is also my birthday this week, and in pursuit of the perfect birthday dessert I decided to take a trip down memory lane through some of my favorite recipes, photos and blogs this year.

Here we go:  my best from 2012:

Greg from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide has encouraged me from almost day one of starting this blog- although we’ve never met, its been fun to share blogs!  Here’s one of his posts that I tried and loved:  Butterfinger Cookies!

Aimee from Clever Muffin  cracks me up!  When I met her she was living in London (so cool) and now she has moved back to Australia (even cooler!) Her yummy muffin recipes are great- but her sense of humor is even better– this is a blog worth following for sure!!  Here’s her Chocolate Chip Yogurt Muffins:

Christine from Angry Cherry is from Canada– and she’s a pastry chef in training (jealous!)  she makes beautiful things with ingredients I’ve never heard of, but I love how adventurous she is in pursuing her dreams.  Red Wine Truffle Cake from her:

Since I’m addicted to photography these days, I am drawn to blogs with jaw-dropping photography.  My favorite is Bravetart (plus, WHAT a fun name!)  The recipes are from Stella, a pastry chef and the photography is done by a variety of friends who are professional food photographers (dream…..!)  I just stare at the photographs and try to understand the angles and lighting….I really need to take a class.  In any case, here is her version of Red Velvet Cake (please come to my house and make this for my birthday….!)

My favorite cake decorators are the Davis sisters (and mom).  They have taken a hobby and turned it into a serious business and FUN blog- Happily Ever After Cakes!!  I am amazed by how many different types of cakes and cupcakes they are willing to try.  Here’s one of my favorites (I want to live on this cake!) a day at the beach (yes…this is a CAKE!)

I’m sneaking a favorite non-food blog into the lineup:  this blog is one of my favorite sources of inspiration and encouragement.  A good friend of mine is a chaplain with the military.  He’s deployed right now and shares his thoughts on a blog called Devos by Chaps….love it!

Last, but certainly not least is the cake I would choose to have on my birthday if someone else would make it…Its from The Art of Dessert and I think the picture speaks for itself…wow.  Let me present: Chocolate Wasted Cake:

so….birthday cake….

I also went through the archive of all the recipes created on easybaked this year.  The one recipe I couldn’t  get out of my head (I think because I wish it was summer out!) was Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake.  A summer cake for a cold January birthday— perfect!  I tweaked the frosting recipe just a bit to make it thicker so that it would be more of a frosting than just a filling…and I LOVE it!!  Its light, whipped, very spreadable and tart with lemon — perfect!

Here’s the recipe (tweaked) or if you want the original just click here.

INGREDIENTS:

  • One box of strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
  • 2- 8oz. packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
  • 1 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid Lemonade
  • Yellow food coloring  (as desired for color)
  • 1- 7oz. container Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 1/3 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Topping
  • Rainbow sugar crystals

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake according to box and bake in 2- 9 inch round cake pans as directed.  Turn finished cakes over on cake racks and allow to cool completely.
  • Cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth.
  • Beat marshmallow creme and powdered sugar in and then fold in Cool Whip until completely smooth.  
  • Cut each cake layer in half.
  • Alternating layers of cake with layers of frosting, assemble cake.  
  • Cover top and sides with frosting.
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled.  Sprinkle with colored sugar just before serving.

A light and refreshing dessert after all the heavy holiday treats– perfect!

Thanks for sharing all of your fun recipes and stories with me this year— looking forward to sharing 2012 together!

Happy New Year!

Other favorite desserts on Easybaked~  just click the picture to get the recipe!

Cookie Dough CupcakesCinnamon Roll Filling in a yummy cupcake!Caramel Fudge Brownies!!Creamy Coconut Cheesecake

Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake!!

Posted on

Moist strawberry cake layered with a rich lemonade cream filling.  Introducing summer——on a plate!

INGREDIENTS:

  • One box of strawberry cake mix (plus oil, water and eggs as directed on box)
  • 8oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened to room temp.)
  • 1 packet (0.23oz.) of Kool-Aid Lemonade
  • Yellow food coloring gel (as desired for color)
  • 2cups Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme
  • 8 oz. Cool Whip Topping
  • Fresh strawberries to garnish.

DIRECTIONS:

  • Make cake according to box and bake in 2- 9 inch round cake pans as directed.  Turn finished cakes over on cake racks and allow to cool completely.
  • Cream together cream cheese, lemonade and yellow food coloring until smooth.
  • Mix marshmallow creme in and then mix in Cool Whip until completely smooth.  Refrigerate until cake is cooled and cut.
  • Cut each cake layer in half.
  • Alternating layers of cake with layers of filling, assemble cake.  End with layer of filling.
  • Top with sliced strawberries.
  • Refrigerate and serve chilled.


My thoughts: YUM!!!!!  I’m a little obsessed with the filling I used in those confetti cups a few weeks back.  This lemonade filling is similar- but has more Cool Whip to make it light and fluffy.  I’ve never made a strawberry cake mix before– it is SO GOOD!  I love that this recipe uses a cake mix- it makes it a VERY easy and quick recipe that looks so fancy and fun!  I think you could drizzle some white chocolate over this and make it over-the-top fancy.  I really hope you enjoy this recipe— I’ve gotta have a piece –ready….set….GO!


Want to see more pictures of this cake done as a birthday cake?  The filling is made just a little thicker so that the entire cake can be frosted.  Just click here.  Enjoy!

 4-17-12: I love it when people try recipes I’ve posted and take pictures of the process- check out how “Don’t fight the Apple” made this recipe into yummy jar cakes to send to her boyfriend overseas!  Great idea!!

4-23-12: Or check out the tips and beautiful photos taken at Jam Hands.

Try some other fun strawberry desserts at Easybaked~ just click on an image to be taken to the recipe!

Strawberry layer cakeStrawberry Cookies with Sweet Tart FrostingStrawberry Lemonade Cupcakes!!!!Chocolate covered strawberry Cake roll!!

Chocolate-covered Strawberry Cheesecake!!

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White chocolate cheesecake covered with chocolate dipped strawberries??? I’ll have some of that! (in fact I went off my diet and did– just a little….)  This is my standard cheesecake recipe with a twist- it’s surrounded by Nilla Wafers and topped with loads of dipped strawberries!  Fun and fancy- you will impress your guests with this cheesecake!

INGREDIENTS:

Cheesecake:

  • 9 oz. chocolate wafer cookies (I use animal crackers)
  • 15-20 Nilla Wafers
  • 1/4 c. margarine (melted)
  • 2 (8oz.) packages of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (softened)
  • 1/2c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 c. white chocolate chips (melted)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp. margarine (melted)
  • 3 tsp. vanilla

Toppings:

DIRECTIONS:
Cheesecake:
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Crush cookies into fine crumbs and add melted margarine.  Combine well and press into the bottom of a 9-Inch Springform Pan
    .
  • Gently press Nilla wafers upright along the edges of the crust.
  • Beat softened cream cheese with sugar until smooth.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating in between each one.
  • Add remaining cheesecake ingredients, beating until smooth.
  • Pour into crust and allow to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.
  • Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 60 minutes.
  • Turn off oven, open oven door a little and allow to sit for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and run knife around edge of pan.  Remove edge of pan. 
  • Allow cheesecake to come to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
Toppings:
  • CHOCOLATE:  Put 1/2c. whipping cream into saucepan and heat just until bubbling at edges.  Turn heat off, add chocolate chips, cover and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, stir until smooth.
  • Pour over top of cheesecake and allow this to harden.
  • STRAWBERRIES: Take the top off each strawberry and wash well.  Allow these to dry completely on paper towel.
  • Melt both dark and white chocolate candy melts in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until completely melted.
  • Gently dip strawberries in chocolate (half in dark and half in white).  Use a fork to drain away excess chocolate and set on parchment paper to harden.
  • Put remaining melted chocolate in ziplock bags.  Clip a corner and drizzle each strawberry with its opposite color.
  • Allow these to completely harden.
  • Add powdered sugar to remaining cup of  whipping cream and whip with mixer (you could use Cool Whip to save time on this part).
  • Spoon whipped cream into a zip-lock bag with a decorative tip added into one corner.
  • Gently place hardened dipped strawberries on cheesecake.
  • Pipe whipped cream around edges and between berries.
  • Keep chilled.  Serve the same day as you place the berries (they will eventually get “soggy”  if they sit too long.
  • ENJOY!!!
My thoughts:
This is the only recipe I’ve ever won a contest with.  Two, in fact!  The 1st was a recipe contest through our local newspaper.  The second was a contest with Ferrara Pan Candy Company.  It isn’t a recipe thats quick and easy, but it’s fun to make and sure to impress!!!  Here’s a couple of tips:  Get more than enough strawberries- you want similar sizes and you will need to go through a few to find enough of the same size.  Start placing the strawberries in the middle with the largest.  The smaller berries are easier to squeeze in around the edges 🙂  Enjoy!!!  r-
This recipe was shared on these wonderful blogs:
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