Featured

Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Cake

Somehow May is almost already half way over, which in my family means it’s time to think up a delicious dessert involving mint and chocolate. My older brother’s birthday is this month, and as an avid fan of the two, his number one request every year almost always involves that pairing. Seeing as how my favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip, I never say no to testing out new desserts involving the two flavors! 🍫🌿

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That’s where I got the inspiration to dream up this Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Cake. Layers of a rich, dark chocolate cake are paired with a creamy mint chip Swiss meringue buttercream that’s pretty much like mint chocolate chip ice cream in frosting form. Pieces of chopped bittersweet chocolate are added to the buttercream for a little bit of a crunch, and crème de menthe is used to add a subtle, yet creamy mint flavor.

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I found that crème de menthe was the perfect way to add just enough mint flavor without it overpowering the rest of the cake. You can use mint extract if you prefer to, but I think that the creaminess of the crème de menthe is far superior. If you use mint extract, be sure to use less as a little goes a long way.

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A few notes before you get started. The cake can be baked as either a two layer 8-inch cake or a three layer 6-inch cake, depending on what you prefer. I used dark cocoa powder to make it a dark chocolate cake, but you can use regular natural cocoa powder as well.

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Now, let’s talk about this cake. Layers of rich, dark chocolate cake that are tender, yet sturdy enough to be stacked without needing a crumb coat. This is my new favorite chocolate cake. It’s silky smooth and deliciously moist with every single bite. The other amazing thing about this recipe is that even if any crumbs do get swept up in the icing they’ll look like pieces of chocolate!

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I chose to carefully sift the pieces of chocolate once I chopped them so I would only be incorporating the bigger pieces into the buttercream. This extra step is up to you, I just wanted the chocolate to have a cleaner, less speckled look. The frosting spreads like a dream, and there’s just enough to have a little left over to snack on!

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So the next time you’re craving a peppermint patty or some mint chocolate chip ice cream, why not switch it up and make the cake version of that? You deserve it.

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Dark Chocolate Mint Chip Cake

Author: Marisa Guerra

Dark Chocolate Cake

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla, scraping down the sides of the bowl with your spatula as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk.
  6. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the coffee to the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  7. Coat three 6-inch cake pans with cooking spray or butter and cocoa powder and line the bottom of each with parchment. Evenly divide the batter into the pans.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack before gently running a knife along the edge of each pan, topping the cake with another cooling rack and turning each cake out. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Mint Chip Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • 4 tsp crème de menthe
  • Green food coloring
  • 3 oz or about ½ cup bittersweet chocolate, chopped and sifted
  1. Stir together egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. Continue to stir until mixture reaches 160º F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix with the whisk attachment on high for 8-10 minutes, until somewhat stiff peaks have formed.
  3. Switch out the whisk for the paddle attachment and slowly add in pieces of butter on low. Mix until fully incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in crème de menthe followed by the green food coloring.
  5. Carefully stir in the chopped chocolate.

Cake Assembly

  1. Once your cake layers have cooled, carefully cut the tops off with a serrated knife so that each layer is level.
  2. Place one layer, top side down, on a cake board and spread with frosting. Repeat this step with the next two layers.
  3. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill until you serve.
  4. Enjoy!
Featured

Maple Cream Scones

It’s hard not to love a buttery, soft, flaky scone. You know what I’m talking about…the kind that melts in your mouth when it’s still warm out of the oven. These scones are not only lusciously tender, but the maple syrup in them takes them to a whole new level.

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Imagine the perfect balance of creaminess, sweetness, and just a little bit of crunch from the sparkling sugar that’s sprinkled on top. They’re delicate and flaky, but sturdy enough to top with jam and take with you as you run out the door in the morning.

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One of my favorite things about this recipe, besides the end result, is its simplicity. They’re easy to make and don’t require a ton of prep work or baking time. I love making them on weekend mornings or at the beginning of the week to enjoy later on.

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It’s best to splurge a little for good quality Grade A Dark Color maple syrup for this recipe because it will bring out an authentic and strong maple flavor. I chose this particular grade of syrup because it’s dark enough to have a strong, but not overpowering maple taste. Plus, you can always use what you have leftover to whip up a delicious Maple Buttercream or use it as an excuse to make pancakes or waffles (as if you needed one)!

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Just like when you work with any kind of dough, you want to make sure that the butter and heavy cream are chilled before you start. The scones will come together rather quickly and don’t require too many dishes or tools. A pastry blender can be helpful when you’re adding the butter to the dough, but you can also use your hands to really incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until it is pea sized.

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Once the dough is formed, you don’t even need to reach for your rolling pin! You can just gently form and pat the dough into a circle with your hands. From there, it’s just a matter of cutting them into wedges, brushing their tops with heavy cream, and sprinkling them with sparkling sugar! Before you know it, you’ll have fresh scones that are ready to be devoured.

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Maple Cream Scones

Author: Marisa Guerra

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • ¾ cup heavy cream, plus 1 tbsp for topping
  • ½ cup Grade A Dark Color maple syrup
  • sparkling white sugar for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375º F.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the heavy cream and maple syrup in a small bowl and chill.
  4. Add butter to the flour mixture and blend together with a pastry blender or your hands until the butter pieces are no bigger than the size of a pea.
  5. Pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture and stir until it begins to come together.
  6. Gently knead the dough together while it is still in the bowl to make sure it is fully combined.
  7. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly sprinkle with more flour.
  8. Using your hands, form the dough into a circle that is about an inch or so high. Cut the dough into 8 even wedges and spread the wedges out evenly on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
  9. Carefully brush the tops of each scone with a light layer of heavy cream and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
  10. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the sides and bottoms are lightly browned.
  11. Enjoy!

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Featured

Irish Cream and Chocolate Bundt Cake with a Dark Chocolate Glaze

This cake is my new favorite Saint Patrick’s Day tradition…a rich chocolate cake with a hint of Irish Cream and a delicious chocolate glaze. Not only is it super easy to make, but it results in a decadent dessert that will easily have you wanting another slice. ☘️

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While I’m all for the excuse to make this cake year round, I think that it is best when it is served on the day of all things shamrock, corned beef, and green. Plus, it’s the perfect way to add a sophisticated touch to your Saint Patrick’s Day festivities.

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In addition to its rich flavor, one of my favorite things about this cake is its simplicity. While layer cakes hold a special place in my heart, bundt cakes are a great way to create a beautiful dessert with a little less effort. This cake is dense enough to hold the bundt’s shape, yet delicate and rich enough to still taste delicious.

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As long as you follow the directions by prepping your pan properly, baking the cake as directed, and letting it cool a little before turning it out, you’ll have a gorgeous result that just needs to be drizzled in its chocolate glaze before being served.

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The chocolate glaze is also super simple and only requires two ingredients. I chose dark chocolate to contrast the sweetness of the cake, and I let the glaze cool slightly so that its consistency would be just right. I used a piping bag to help control the glaze’s drips, but you can also use a spoon or a measuring cup with a spout. Depending on how much glaze you use, you’ll most likely have a little leftover which is a bonus in itself!

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Irish Cream and Chocolate Bundt Cake with a Dark Chocolate Glaze

Author: Marisa Guerra

Cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup Irish cream liqueur
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Sift flour, unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time with the mixer on low and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla extract.
  5. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the Irish cream liqueur along with the buttermilk to the batter. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix just until it is incorporated.
  6. Coat a 10-12 cup bundt pan with nonstick spray and carefully pour the batter into the pan. Smooth the batter out and gently tap the pan on the counter to avoid air bubbles.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 15 minutes on a cooling rack before gently running a knife along the edges and center of the pan, topping the cake with another cooling rack, and carefully turning the cake out.

Glaze

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  1. While the cake continues to cool, place the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the cream begins to boil.
  3. Carefully pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Let the glaze cool slightly before dripping the desired amount of it onto the mostly cooled cake. The cake is best served slightly warmed.
  5. Enjoy!

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Featured

Classic Chocolate Pudding

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Whether you’re celebrating with your galentines, a loved one, or yourself this week, this chocolate pudding is sure to add some excitement to your festivities.

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If you’re like me, one of your fondest memories of pudding takes you back to the days of elementary school and the magic of finding that snack pack pudding in your lunchbox. I remember eating that creamy chocolatey goodness by the spoonful so I decided it was time to make my own version.

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This homemade chocolate pudding tops a snack pack any day. It’s light yet rich, and comes together quickly on your stovetop. Plus, it’s easy to whip up so that you can enjoy it later that day or little by little a few days after you make it, but that’s if any is leftover by then…

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Before you make the pudding, be sure to fully read through each step and have all of your ingredients measured and ready to go because once you start, things will move quickly. Because you’ll be heating egg yolks, cream, and milk over the stove, you want to be sure to keep a close eye on your pot and have both a whisk and spatula handy at all times. Don’t let this intimidate you! Magical chocolate pudding awaits you!

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I chose to use both cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate as well as both milk and heavy cream to create a rich, yet creamy result. The bittersweet chocolate is not too overpowering, and the homemade whipped cream compliments its taste by adding a bit more creaminess to every spoonful.

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This recipe makes about three cups of pudding, and there’s plenty of whipped cream leftover for all of your snacking needs. Don’t forget to top your beautiful pudding creations with lots of sprinkles!

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Classic Chocolate Pudding

Author: Marisa Guerra

Chocolate Pudding

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 ½ cups whole or 2% milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cocoa powder together in a saucepan.
  2. Cook on low heat, gradually streaming in the milk a little at a time and ensuring that the cornstarch does not clump. Continue to cook over low medium heat, whisking occasionally and scraping the sides of the pot as the mixture continues to warm.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and egg yolks.
  4. Once the cocoa mixture on the stove has started to bubble a little, prepare to temper the heavy cream and egg mixture. While constantly whisking the heavy cream mixture, carefully pour in a little of the hot milk mixture to temper it for a few seconds.
  5. Pour all of the mixture back into the saucepan and continue to cook over medium high heat, whisking constantly until the pudding thickens and begins to boil up like hot lava. Be sure to scrape the sides of the pot and keep a close eye on the pudding.
  6. Remove the pudding from the heat and whisk in the vanilla and chocolate.
  7. Transfer pudding to heat safe dishes and cover with plastic wrap by placing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding to avoid a skin from forming. Chill for at least two hours.

Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar
  1. Combine heavy cream and sugar in a medium sized bowl. Mix on medium-high with a handheld or stand mixer until somewhat stiff peaks have formed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use and slightly whisk before using if need be.

Assembly

  1. Once pudding is chilled, top each bowl with a dollop of whipped cream and sprinkles of your choice.
  2. Enjoy!

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Featured

Buttermilk Waffle Cake with Maple Buttercream

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Is there any meal greater than breakfast? Maybe it’s the endless number of options or the fact that it’s the first meal of the day, but breakfast food is one of my favorite kinds. So why not take a classic breakfast food, like the infamous buttermilk waffle, and transform it into a layer cake? I thought this would be a fun way to enjoy a breakfast food for dessert, and I’m sure that Leslie Knope would agree it’s the best excuse to eat cake for breakfast.

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This cake takes all of the best things about a buttermilk waffle, like the sweet, yet rich flavor, and pairs it with a maple buttercream that will remind you of maple syrup without all of the stickiness.

A few important notes before you get started: It is best to use good quality Grade A Dark Color syrup to make the maple buttercream because the darker the syrup, the stronger the maple flavor. This level of syrup compliments the buttercream well without adding too much sweetness. If you have a lighter syrup you can still use it, but the maple flavor won’t be as strong.

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One of my favorite things about this cake is that the batter creates a delicate, rich cake, but can also be used to make a delicious waffle to top the cake with. Just be sure to set aside ½ cup of batter for the waffle topping. I used a Belgian waffle maker so that they would be sturdy enough to stand up on their sides, and I used that specific amount of batter so that they would each vary. If you are using a standard waffle maker, you might want to use a little less batter to make them smaller or cook them longer so that they are sturdy enough to stand up.

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To make the maple buttercream, you’ll start off with a basic Swiss Meringue style buttercream and then add the maple syrup to it. If you have any trouble while frosting, pop the bowl of buttercream in the fridge for several minutes to help it firm up. I decided to only frost the cake with a crumb coat and use the leftover buttercream to pipe swirls on top. I used an Ateco 869 tip to make the swirls, but you are welcome to use whatever tip you like. You just want to be sure to pipe enough of a base of buttercream to hold each waffle slice up. I hope you have as much fun baking and eating this cake as I did with creating it!

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Buttermilk Waffle Cake with Maple Buttercream

Author: Marisa Guerra

Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternate between adding the flour mixture and buttermilk to the batter.
  6. Coat two 8 inch cake pans with cooking spray or butter and flour and evenly divide the batter into the pans, setting aside ½ cup of batter for the waffle topping.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack before gently running a knife along the edge of each pan, topping the cake with another cooling rack and turning each cake out. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Waffle Topping

  1. While the cakes bake, carefully pour ½ cup of batter onto a waffle maker that is lightly coated with cooking spray and cook as directed.
  2. Divide waffle into 4 sections and set aside.

Maple Buttercream

  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cubed
  • ¼ cup Grade A Dark Color maple syrup
  1. Stir together egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. Continue to stir occasionally until mixture reaches 160º F on a candy thermometer.
  2. Transfer to a mixing bowl and mix with the whisk attachment on high for 8-10 minutes, until somewhat stiff peaks have formed.
  3. Switch out the whisk for the paddle attachment and slowly add in pieces of butter on low. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add in maple syrup and mix until smooth.

Cake Assembly

  1. Once your cake layers have cooled, carefully cut the tops off with a serrated knife so that each layer is level.
  2. Place one layer, top side down, on a cake board and spread with frosting. Repeat this step with the next layer.
  3. Apply a crumb coat, or a thin layer of frosting, around the cake and chill for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Place a piping tip into a pastry bag and fill it with the remaining buttercream.
  5. Pipe four swirls onto the top of the cake and place a waffle slice in each swirl.
  6. Enjoy!

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Featured

Creamy Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Whenever it starts to get chilly this time of year, I can’t wait to make the season’s first delicious cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate. The smell of it makes me think of decorating the house with Christmas lights, wrapping presents, and watching those classic Christmas movies year after year.

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I grew up with instant hot cocoa, the kind that’s complete with a splash of milk and some mini marshmallows, but trust me, once you’ve had this hot chocolate, you’ll never want to go back to the instant kind. Instead of depending on cocoa powder for the chocolate taste, melting good quality chocolate gives the drink an overall richer and creamier feel, making it that much more irresistible.

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Melting the chocolate before adding it to the milk and cream mixture helps to ensure that the chocolate is fully incorporated without leaving little specks of chocolate behind.

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This recipe is also flexible enough so that you can use whatever kind of milk or chocolate you like. My personal favorite is bittersweet chocolate, but if you choose to use semi-sweet, feel free to add less sugar to balance the sweeter chocolate out. This recipe makes enough hot chocolate for about 2 servings, but those servings go a long way because it’s so rich and creamy.

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The only thing missing? Marshmallows, of course! With the help of a candy thermometer, you can whip up some homemade marshmallows at home. I decided to dress these marshmallows up by dipping them in more chocolate and sprinkling them with crushed peppermint.

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The best thing about these marshmallows is that they leave plenty of room for customization. Like white chocolate more than semi-sweet or bittersweet? Switch it up! Prefer sprinkles to peppermint? Go for it! You can even use festive cookie cutters to make fun shapes. The choice is yours!

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I recommend making the marshmallows ahead of time so that they have several hours to firm up before you start to make your hot chocolate.

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Creamy Hot Chocolate and Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Author: Marisa Guerra

Creamy Hot Chocolate

  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ½ tbsp sugar (or less, if using semi-sweet chocolate)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  1. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler. Set aside.
  2. Combine milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla in a small nonstick pan. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until it begins to simmer.
  3. Turn heat to low, add melted chocolate, and whisk until it is fully incorporated.
  4. Enjoy!

Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (¼ oz each)
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup water, divided
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • crushed peppermint (about 3 candy canes)
  1. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and lightly coat paper with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Sprinkle some of powdered sugar on top of parchment.
  2. Stir together granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and ⅔ cup water in a nonstick pan. Cook over medium heat, until it reaches 240º F on a candy thermometer. Swirl pan occasionally, but do not stir as it cooks.
  3. While mixture cooks, pour ⅓ cup water over the gelatin in a stand mixer bowl and whisk to combine. Let the mixture sit for 5-7 minutes to allow the gelatin to bloom, or dissolve.
  4. Once gelatin has bloomed and sugar has reached 240º F, carefully add the hot sugar mixture to the gelatin, mixing on low with the whisk attachment.
  5. Immediately add vanilla extract and continue to mix on medium high until mixture has stiffened, about 5-6 minutes.
  6. Carefully transfer marshmallows to pan, using a spatula lightly coated in cooking spray to spread them evenly. Lightly cover top in more powdered sugar. Let sit for at least 3 hours, until they become firm.
  7. Flip out the marshmallow block onto a surface lightly coated with more powdered sugar. Coat a knife with cooking spray and carefully cut the marshmallows to desired size, rolling edges of each marshmallow in remaining powdered sugar. Dust excess sugar off.
  8. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or a double boiler. Let cool slightly before dipping marshmallows in. Gently place dipped marshmallows on a cooling rack and let set for a few minutes before topping chocolate with crushed peppermint.
  9. Add to hot chocolate or enjoy marshmallows by themselves!

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Featured

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Can you believe it’s already mid November? It seems like pumpkins were just being carved for Halloween, but we’re already seeing Christmas commercials and just the other day I saw someone putting Christmas lights up on their house! Thanksgiving is almost here so now is the time to make everything pumpkin if you haven’t already. Why not let that list include a twist on a classic breakfast food? These pumpkin cinnamon rolls will brighten up any morning (or afternoon or night for that matter) and are somehow made even better when topped with the cream cheese icing straight out of the oven. 🎃

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We all know that yummy, melt in your mouth cinnamon roll taste, but these rolls take that to the next level by adding a hint of pumpkin. Not to mention, they make your kitchen smell amazing! Just the thing you need to feel excited for fall.

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The combination of adding pumpkin along with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves, or all the spices that make up “pumpkin spice,” gives them that tender, delicious pumpkin flavor. However, they still have that classic cinnamon sugar filling that will have you remembering every warm and mouth watering cinnamon roll you’ve ever had.

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Just like a normal cinnamon roll, the dough is rolled out, the filling is generously spread on top, and the dough is then rolled up and sliced to form beautiful swirls. I chose to make fewer, larger rolls, but you can make as many or as few as you like depending on how wide you slice them.

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Before this happens though, the dough rises for an hour and then for another hour once it is formed into rolls. The hardest part is being patient while it rises, but that’s how you get beautiful, well-risen rolls that are ready to be baked!

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Plus, it just means that you can get caught up on some reading, that show you’ve been meaning to watch, or maybe that pile of laundry, knowing full well that the reward is a pan full of these beauties.

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It also means that while the rolls bake, you can get started on the cream cheese icing so that they can be topped with spoonfuls of icing and devoured the minute they’re ready!

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Icing

Author: Marisa Guerra

Dough

  • ½ cup milk, warmed
  • 1 package (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 3 ½ -3 ¾ cups flour, plus more for rolling
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree

Filling

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  1. Warm milk in a small bowl, sprinkle yeast on top, and whisk together. Set aside for 10 minutes until it starts to look foamy. If the mixture does not foam, start over with a new packet of yeast.
  2. Whisk the flour, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves together in a large stand mixer bowl.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, slowly add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture, followed by the melted butter, egg, and pumpkin puree.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix until the dough starts to stick together and pull away from the sides of the bowl. You may need to add a little more flour at this point, depending on the consistency of your pumpkin puree.
  5. Once dough starts to stick to the paddle, switch out the paddle for the hook attachment and mix on low for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Coat a large bowl with cooking spray or vegetable oil. Shape the dough into a ball and gently place in bowl, flipping the dough over to coat the top of it as well. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let dough rise for about one hour, until it has doubled in size.
  7. Line a 9 inch pan with parchment and coat with cooking spray.
  8. To prepare the filling, whisk the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  9. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a flat rectangle that’s about 10 x 12 inches. Using a pastry brush, carefully coat the top of the dough with melted butter, except for an inch border at the top.
  10. Spoon cinnamon sugar onto dough and spread around evenly, except for that same inch border at the top.
  11. With the long side of the dough closest to you, carefully roll up the dough into a tight log. When you have reached the other end, pinch the seam of the roll by pressing down to ensure that it is sealed.
  12. Gently cut the log into 8 large rolls with a serrated knife. Do your best not to flatten them as you cut down by cutting them in a sawing motion.
  13. Arrange rolls in pan, cover in plastic wrap, and let them rise for another hour. While the rolls rise, preheat oven to 350º F and remove cream cheese from the fridge for it to soften.
  14. Once rolls have risen, bake them for 30-35 minutes.
  15. Let rolls cool for 10 minutes and then carefully run a knife along the side of the pan. Gently flip the cinnamon rolls out onto a cooling rack.

Icing

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp milk
  1. While the rolls bake, mix the cream cheese on low in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until it is smooth.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add powdered sugar and milk, mixing on medium low until it is smooth.
  3. Drizzle the icing over the rolls and enjoy!

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Featured

Caramel Apples

Put a pot on the stove and get ready to watch it boil, it’s time to make caramel apples! Halloween is almost here, and the perfect addition to that spooky night is a delicious tart apple covered in the chewiest, creamiest caramel, and topped with all of your favorite toppings.

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Caramel apples have been around since the 1950’s, as they became popular after candy apples, and this quick and simple recipe makes it easy to have a batch whipped up in no time with only a few ingredients.

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The trick with this recipe is that a cold apple will help the caramel set faster so that it’s not too gooey when you go to roll it in a topping. It’s also important to use organic apples to avoid having to worry about removing a wax coating.

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If you follow the guidelines for the caramel’s temperature with the help of a candy thermometer, you’ll end up with a caramel that is thick enough to evenly coat each apple, and by holding it upside down, you’ll ensure that it will set and won’t form a pool at the bottom once you set it down.

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The treat? Delicious caramel covered apples topped with all of your favorite toppings: sprinkles, chopped up candy, nuts, chocolate, candy corn, and more…the possibilities are endless! Plus, you can pour the leftover caramel into a small dish and cut it into little squares for later!

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Caramel Apples

Author: Marisa Guerra

Ingredients

  • 6 organic Granny Smith apples
  • 6 candy sticks or chopsticks
  • 2 ¼ cups packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ½ tsp salt
  • Assorted toppings in small bowls
  1. Wash apples and dry thoroughly. Remove stems from apples and carefully push candy sticks into the same spot of each apple.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, space the apples out on the cookie sheet, and refrigerate.
  3. In a nonstick pot, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir and scrape the sides of the pot occasionally as the mixture cooks over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until the candy thermometer reaches 250º F.
  4. Immediately remove from heat and carefully pour into a small heatproof bowl that is tall and narrow enough to dip the whole apple into. Let caramel cool to about 200º F.
  5. Remove cookie sheet from the fridge and fully immerse each apple into the bowl of caramel, rotating them in the process to ensure that they are fully covered. You may need to tilt the bowl slightly to do this.
  6. Hold each apple upside down over the bowl of caramel for 15-20 seconds to let the caramel set, manipulating it by carefully smoothing it towards the top with a spatula where the candy stick meets the apple.
  7. Once you have fully covered and smoothed the caramel on the apple, carefully roll the apple in smaller toppings or gently press larger toppings into the caramel. The caramel should now be warm to the touch so it is easier to add the toppings with your hands or spoon them over the top of the apple.
  8. Place finished apple on cookie sheet and repeat the same steps with the remaining apples. Refrigerate if needed to help caramel firm up and then serve immediately. Enjoy!

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Featured

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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As of last week, fall is officially here, and I’m so ready for all of the pumpkins, scarf wearing, and pie making that comes with it.

Not to mention, one of the best excuses for baking (as if I need another) is that it’s chilly outside and what better way to warm up than with homemade scones or some delicious cookies? Just the sound of it makes me want to curl up with a good book or a classic movie while something bakes away in the oven.

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If you’re looking to really get into the spirit of fall and have your kitchen smell like it too, then this cake is the perfect thing to whip up. It’s a simple recipe that combines cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, all of the spices that make up “pumpkin spice,” and blends them into a delicious and tender cake.

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Add a few layers of cream cheese frosting and it’s the perfect compliment to the delicious pumpkin flavor!

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I decided to make a three layer 6 inch cake, but this recipe can also be used to make a two layer 8 inch cake as well, depending on what size pans you have.

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Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Author: Marisa Guerra

Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices and set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter until smooth. Add in the sugar and oil.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl with your spatula as needed.
  5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture and mix until combined.
  6. Gently add pumpkin puree on low, scraping down the bowl as needed to ensure it is fully incorporated.
  7. Pour batter into pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack before gently running a knife along the edge of each pan, topping the cake with another cooling rack and turning each cake out. Let cakes cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
  1. Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth.
  2. With the mixer on low, slowly add in spoonfuls of confectioners sugar.
  3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix until light and fluffy.

Cake Assembly

  1. Once your cake layers have cooled, carefully cut the tops off with a serrated knife so that each layer is level.
  2. Place one layer, top side down, on a cake board and spread with frosting. Repeat this step with the next layer.
  3. Apply a crumb coat, or a thin layer of frosting, around the cake and chill for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!

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Peter Pan

A love of baking and Disney movies combined? What’s better than that? Join me as I bake my way through one Disney movie at a time! Follow along at #marisabakesdisney 🎥

Disney’s Peter Pan, an adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s original play, flew into theaters on February 5, 1953, and was instantly a big hit. Did you know that Walt first grew fond of the story when he saw the play as a child? Or that one of the biggest challenges that animators faced when working on the film was learning how to animate a character to look like they were flying?

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I made a colorful funfetti cake and decorated it with a Swiss meringue buttercream because what other cake says “never grow up” more? I topped it with the silhouettes of Peter Pan, Wendy, James, and Michael as they fly towards the second star to the right and straight on till morning.

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“All this has happened before, and it will all happen again. But this time it happened in London. It happened on a quiet street in Bloomsbury. That corner house over there is the home of the Darling family. And Peter Pan chose this particular house because there were people here who believed in him.” – Peter Pan

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