A Simple Way to Dress up a Plain Yellow Cake

So, I recently wrote about how to make an egg-free vanilla cake for Craftsy. This is a useful thing to have on hand, because you never know when you'll start baking only to find that you have no eggs--or, it's good to be prepared in the event someone can't consume eggs. 

But the egg-free cake isn't necessarily what I want to tell you about today. I want to tell you about what I did after I completed baking it.

Actually, the process started while the cake was still baking. I thought: "I know what to do with this cake. I am going to make it a dulce de leche poke cake."

I happened to have a 14-ounce can of dulce de leche I'd found in the International Aisle at the grocery store in my cabinet. I cracked it open and poured it into a pan, reserving a small spoonful for myself, for SNACKING.

Then I added about 1/2 cup of whole milk and a pinch of salt.

I heated the mixture on low, and added a little more milk (sorry, I didn't measure) to give the mixture a thick but pourable consistency (you can kind of play it by ear). I didn't let it boil, just warmed it enough so that the mixture was smooth and combined. 

Around then, the cake was done.

Here's what I did then. First, I poked the cake all over. 


Then I poured the silky dulce de leche mixture on top.


It was thick on top at first but then it gradually soaked and settled into the cake, leaving a glaze-like finish on top but a full, saturated texture inside of the cake.

It was beautiful to watch.

I finished it with some toasted pecans and some sea salt.

And it was heaven. 

So, I suppose the point of this blog post is to tell you that if you ever need inspiration for how to gussy up a yellow cake (egg-free or no), please do this. Just heat up some dulce de leche with enough milk to thin it, then pour it over the cake which you've poked with the tines of a fork or a skewer. Then enjoy.

I would cue the "the more you know" music here, but I will have to settle for an image I found from the web:

Enjoy this inspiring idea! 

Cookie-Pie With Three Types of Chocolate

This was a mistake. It was supposed to be scones. But as you can see, this is not scones. It is a cookie-pie topped with three types of chocolate. 

Let me explain. I was working on the recipe for chocolate cranberry scones that I published a while back, but on my way, I had some recipes that didn't work out. Well, this recipe didn't work out as scones, but it  came out as some non-scone thing that was highly delicious.

Working to try and transform a cookie mix into scones wasn't extremely easy, as it turned out. At first, I started with traditional scone-making methods: working cold butter into the dry mixture, making a well and adding cream, et cetera. Unfortunately, when using a cookie mix instead of flour as the base, these traditional scone-making methods left me with a batter that was too gooey to be shaped into a traditional circle for scones.

So I decided to transfer the mixture to a pie plate, and baked it up.

Ooh. Definitely not scones, but I was intrigued.

I decided to make it even better by adding some chocolate ganache on top.

Then I decided to drizzle it with some white chocolate cream.

And then (why not) I drizzled it with some semisweet chocolate. 

It came out like some work of abstract pie art. Oooh, ooh, ooh. 

And it tasted AWESOME. Like a wedge of soft chocolate chip cookie studded with cranberries, and saturated in chocolate. I mean, AWESOME.

Since I had made the chocolate sauce more on the liquid side, It really seeped into the cookie mixture, and when sliced, it looked like this. 

It would be a great idea to make this recipe, which was a mistake that turned out to be quite serendipitous and delicious.

Cookie-Pie with Three Types of Chocolate

Printable version here

  • 1 pouch (13.8 ounces) Phil-em up Cookie Mix by Among Friends Baking Mixes
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 egg
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

To top:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

To further top:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped

To yet further top:

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted 

Make it:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the cookie mix and butter. Use a pastry cutter to combine, until the butter is no larger than the size of small peas.

In a separate small bowl (I used my measuring cup), whisk together the cream, egg, salt, and vanilla.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry, and stir to combine.

Transfer the mixture into a pie plate, and bake for 18-25 minutes, or until golden to your liking.

Make the first chocolate topping. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the milk to simmer, then pour over the chocolate. Stir until combined. Pour over the cookie-pie. It will begin to seep into it after a minute. Pour gradually if it doesn't seem to be absorbing quickly.

Make the white chocolate topping, following the same steps as you just did for the dark chocolate. Pour right over the chocolate on the cookie-pie.  

Let the pie set in the fridge for several hours. Finish by drizzling with the final topping, the melted chocolate.

Have you ever had a happy accident while baking?

What Happens Wednesday: Little Debbie Edition

Sensitive readers, avert your eyes. Because this #whathappenswednesday focuses on abuse. The abuse of Little Debbie Snack Cakes.

Longtime readers may remember this "Little Debbie Death Match", which poses the question "what happens when you torture Little Debbie cakes to see which one survives the longest?". These snack cakes are run over by cars, boiled in water, and put through other horrifying tests.

New readers, enjoy my twisted brain.

Read the entire experiment here!

Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Cream Pie With White Chocolate Ganache

I am pretty proud of this pie, friends. I mean, just look at the thing.

So, let me tell you the story of this pie. Yes?

It actually goes back about 4 years ago, when I was prone to saying "I don't like yogurt", as frequently as someone seemed to be listening. It was a texture thing. It was like...snotty-texture. But then someone introduced me to Greek yogurt. Thick and creamy, I knew that I had found my yogurt match. This was not snotty in texture, and it wasn't wimpy in flavor. I still don't like regular yogurt, but I love Greek yogurt. 

More recently, Greek Gods (actually, theirs was the aforementioned first Greek yogurt I ever tasted!) contacted me and asked me if I'd like to come up with a pie recipe for their holiday promotion. I was all like, where do I sign "YES"? 

My one condition with being part of this project, though, was that it had to be an indulgent pie. Because while I love Greek yogurt, all on its own, I do not consider it dessert. So I had to add enough other good stuff that it could definitely fall into dessert territory.

Because of the season, I wanted to make a pumpkin pie; because I enjoy sweetness and deliciousness, I decided to make it a pumpkin cream pie, with that earthy gourd augmented with Greek yogurt and sweetened condensed milk. Some spices for flavor, and some eggs for structure, and the filling was set.

But it kind of felt like it still needed something. 

The answer was a white chocolate ganache "sauce"--made with a little more cream than usual, and a little less chocolate. This made for an oozy texture which drips slightly when each slice is cut into. 

And seriously, what is pumpkin pie without some whipped cream? I finished mine with freshly whipped cream and some toasted pecans. Yes, that works. That works just fine.

People, this pie was an absolute, 100 percent winner. You definitely taste the pumpkin and spice, but there is so much dreamy creaminess that you're like "whoa, this is definitely dessert." The ganache sauce gives it a little special sweet hint, and the whipped cream and toasted pecans offer a pleasing texture and flavor contrast. 

I love this pie, so did Olive the pug (see below)and I think you will, too. Thanks, Greek Gods, for sponsoring this post!

Greek gods pumpkin cream pie

printable version here

For the pie

  • 1 unbaked, 9-inch pie crust
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 8 ounces sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup Greek Gods Honey Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

For the white chocolate ganache sauce

  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped

To top

  • 1 cup freshly whipped cream
  • ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bake time: 45 minutes, plus cooling

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. You can keep your ready to go pie crust in the fridge for the moment.

Make the filling. In a large bowl, combine all of the filling ingredients. Yup, all of them at once.  Mix until it has become smooth and lump-free. You can use a stand mixer for this, or stir by hand.

Go ahead and fetch that pie shell. Pour the mixture into your pie shell.

Bake for 15 minutes in the 425 degree oven, then reduce heat to 350, and bake for 40 minutes or until set. If there is some light cracking on top when the pie comes out, this is OK.

Let the pie cool completely to room temperature. Once it is room temperature, you can refrigerate for about an hour. You want the top to be cool when you pour the ganache sauce on top.

Make the ganache sauce. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over the white chocolate. Mix until completely combined. Let the mixture set for about 30 minutes. It will thicken, but it won’t become thick like a ganache. This was purposefully left thinner so that it will ooze a little bit when served. Pour the sauce on top of the finished pie. Refrigerate again until it sets a bit.


Make the whipped cream, and spread gently on top of the pie. Sprinkle the toasted pecans on top.

Keep this pie in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The white chocolate will slightly drip down the sides once served.

Have you ever baked with Greek yogurt?

Blogsgiving Dinner: Blue Corn Honey Wheat Bread with Greek Yogurt

I love making bread. I love the tactile nature of kneading. I love the way it makes your house smell while it bakes. I love the way a pat of butter melts right on top of a slice just out of the oven.

Bread is a wholesome, communal food, and I personally think it's very important to have homemade bread at Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, it's often overlooked in favor of homemade stuffing, turkey, and side dishes--people forget about the bread and just buy store bought. 

I think this should be changed! You're already spending time in the kitchen making stuff for Thanksgiving - why not spend just a little more time and have some awesome bread? 

I knew this was the perfect entry for Blogsgiving Dinner, a fun little online party hosted by Meghan from Cake ‘n Knife and Susannah from Feast + WestThere are more than 60 blogs sharing recipes this week! And I'm one of them.

Now, regarding this recipe. I like bread that is on the more moist side, which is difficult, because I also like really whole grain-rich breads, which tend to run on the drier side. But guess what? I've had an epiphany. Add Greek Yogurt to your bread, and it will instantly be more moist. 

I had a bunch of Greek yogurt in the house because I was working on a pie recipe that I will post very soon. I over-bought Greek yogurt. . Like, more than I could eat, more than my sweetheart could eat. So I had to get creative. I started putting Greek yogurt in EVERYTHING. In chocolate sauce? In oatmeal? In a bowl of fruit? Yes, yes, yes. And, in my bread.

This is an adaptation of one of my favorite bread recipes ever. It's easy, it's accessible, and you don't even get your hands too dirty. 

The Greek yogurt addition was, I'll just say it, brilliant. Not only does it impart a nice level of moisture to the bread, but it also gives it a pleasant tanginess. Like, if I were to taste this bread and you wanted to know what it was, I might guess it was some sourdough variant. 

The blue corn and whole wheat flour mixture is my favorite, giving the bread a sort of earthy, wholesome taste that goes perfectly with all of your Thanksgiving fixings. Promise me you'll try this one, ok?

Blue corn honey wheat bread with Greek yogurt

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Yield: 1 large loaf 

1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup blue corn flour
1/4 cup Greek yogurt (I used Greek Gods honey yogurt)


  1. Combine the water and yeast. Once the yeast begins to bubble lightly, proceed.
  2. Mix all of the remaining ingredients with the yeast mixture in the order listed.
  3. Knead, either by hand with a dough scraper or with a stand mixer, until it has progressed past a shaggy texture to a solid, slightly sticky mass. This can take up to 5 minutes by hand; less when using a mixer. It will never quite take on a smooth elasticity as if you were using all-purpose flour, but it will become smoother. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it’s quite puffy and doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Gently deflate the dough with your hand (a gentle pressing, not a knockout punch), and shape it into a fat 9″ log (it may still be slightly sticky; I used lightly oiled hands). Place it in a lightly greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. If you'd like, press seeds, nuts, etc, on the top of the loaf. 
  5. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 2 hours or even overnight, or until it has formed a crown which extends 1 inch or slightly more over the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  6. Bake the bread uncovered for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is golden brown on top, and when knocked lightly, yields a slightly hollow sound.
  7. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. Go ahead, give it a taste if you can’t resist (who can resist warm bread?). When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. 

ABOUT BLOGSGIVING DINNER: The idea is based on an old-fashioned potluck dinner party. Each blogger is bringing one or more dishes to the party, so be sure to stop by each one and get some ideas for your own Thanksgiving meal. We’ll be posting to social media with the hashtag #blogsgivingdinner, but you can see all the whole menu in Part 1 and Part 2 of the recipe round-up.

What kind of bread do you serve at Thanksgiving?

What Happens When You Make Buttercream with Olive Oil?

Friends, this #whathappenswednesday is close to my heart, because it was a project that had me overcoming adversity in a romantic comedy, everything-but-the-montage, sort of way.

So, I was assigned to come up with some recipes for Colavita a while back, and I thought "hey, wouldn't an olive oil buttercream be badass?". So I pitched it and they said yes, do it!

Then I started testing recipes, and immediately began to regret my pitch.

Turns out, making olive oil buttercream isn't so easy.

If you just try to make buttercream but with olive oil instead of butter, you get a very pleasant result, but it will never ever become as fluffy as buttercream. It remains a glaze, no matter how much sugar you add. 

But I was not willing to abandon my idea for making a fluffy, cake-worthy buttercream with olive oil. So my mind went in a meringue buttercream direction. What about if I made seven minute frosting, but with olive oil added to the sugar and water mixture that is boiled?

It started out promising, but when I added the olive oil the fluffy frosting collapsed. I think it was because the oil retained its heat differently than the water. Bummer!

I tried a second batch of seven minute frosting style buttercream, but this time I froze the olive oil. I figured I could add it in to the hot sugar-water mixture so that it wouldn't make it too hot.

However, once it hit the mixer, it catapulted right back out, and hit me in the eye. Or it would have, if I hadn't been wearing glasses. It was actually kind of hilarious. 

But it didn't have the desired effect. The frosting once again turned to goo. Tasty goo, but still.

Finally, I thought to myself, how about keeping it mega simple, and just making a simple, no-cook meringue buttercream? 

So I pasteurized my eggs, then separated the whites and yolks (egg whites only for this recipe). I whipped up the egg whites until they held soft peaks, then I added some sugar and vanilla. I whipped until it had firm peaks. It was looking good. 

Then, I took the bowl off of the mixer and folded in olive oil. GENTLY. I experimented, and found that 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) was the max that could be added before the buttercream began to fizzle. But that was certainly enough to give the buttercream a rich, delectable flavor! 

The only catch is that the buttercream does need to be used immediately. It will fall after a while. However, if you use it right away to frost a cake or cupcakes, it will retain its shape fairly well (as opposed to having to stir it, which will deflate it, and then spread it). But we can work around that, right?

So finally, it was a success! 


So what happens when you make buttercream with olive oil? You are in for a wild ride.

OH, and PS. I went through a ton of egg whites making this recipe, so I wrote this post about how to use up four egg yolks. Just in case you want to give this recipe a try--you'll be able to use the whole eggs!

You can find the finished recipe on the Colavita website.

I think you'll enjoy it!

Have you ever made buttercream with olive oil?