September 27: National Drink Beer Day

Finally, it's National Drink Beer Day. So drink some beer, but put it in your cake (or cookies or bread), too, because baking with beer can yield delicious results.

I wrote what I think is a tremendous post on the basics of baking with beer: what types of recipes you can use, some different methods, and general tips. Hopefully it will inspire you to try your hand at baking with beer!

Full post here.

Chocolate Cream Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake

Admit it: you like big bundts.

I cannot lie: I do. And I'll bet that if you're human, you too have trouble resisting the sweet siren call of a big, beautiful bundt cake.

And who would want to resist a cake like this? The chocolate cake that acts as the base is made with olive oil, which gives it a rich flavor yet light texture. A layer of luxuriant chocolate buttercream comes next, made with bittersweet chocolate for a full, not too-sweet flavor. It’s finished off with a unique olive oil-chocolate ganache; the nutty-sweet-rich combination of flavors in this icing contribute to the robust chocolate flavor, yet also adds a level of sophistication and complexity to the dessert.  

Chocolate Cream Filled Chocolate Bundt Cake


Chocolate filled chocolate bundt cake assembly 

Prep time: 1 hour  

Total time: 3 hours, 50 minutes 

  • 1 chocolate olive oil bundt cake (recipe follows) 
  • 1 batch chocolate buttercream filling (recipe follows) 
  • 1 batch chocolate olive oil ganache topping (recipe follows) 
  • Optional garnish: sprinkles or candy-coated chocolates 
  1. Line the inside of the same bundt pan you used to bake the cake with plastic wrap, taking care to cover every portion of the inside of the pan with a slight bit of overhang. 
  2. Spoon the buttercream into the lined bundt pan, taking care not to upset the plastic wrap. Spread the buttercream so that it is as smooth and even as possible. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until the buttercream is very firm.  
  3. Meanwhile, using a serrated knife, gently slice off the top third of the bundt cake. You will not need this portion of the cake, so you can put to the side (see ideas for using this cake in the recipe notes).  
  4. Once the buttercream has become quite firm, gently invert the buttercream on top of the cake (let the plastic stay on top for the moment). Gently press the buttercream into the cake to seal them together. Gently Peel off the plastic. The buttercream should rest fairly flush on top of the cake. Place the entire cake back in the freezer for about 20 minutes, so that it will be completely firm when you ice it.  
  5. Ice the cake with your prepared ganache topping, spreading smoothly and confidently as the ganache will begin to firm quickly as it makes contact with the cold buttercream. Place special emphasis on covering up the “seam” between the buttercream and cake on the sides, so that the cake.  
  6. Garnish as desired. Keep this cake chilled, but serve at cool room temperature.  

Chocolate olive oil bundt cake  

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 1 hour, plus cooling time  

  • 2 cups granulated sugar 
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting the cake pan 
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 6 ounces plain yogurt (or sour cream) 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and dust with cocoa powder a 10-inch bundt pan, and place it on top of a baking sheet.  
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Add the eggs, yogurt, milk, olive oil, and vanilla extract. Using the paddle attachment, beat the mixture on low for a few moments to moisten the ingredients, then increase the speed to medium-high. Beat for 2 minutes, pausing to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, until the mixture is smooth and lump-free. It will be a fairly liquid batter.  
  4. Pour the batter in your prepared cake pan, and place the bundt pan (still on the baking sheet) in the oven.  
  5. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  

Chocolate buttercream filling 

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Total time: 10 minutes 

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened  
  • 1 bar (3.5 ounces) good quality bittersweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled  
  • pinch salt 
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted 
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and chocolate until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes on medium speed.  
  2. Stir in the salt, and add the sugar, 1 cup at a time, mixing each addition on low so as to avoid a sugar snowstorm in your kitchen, then increasing the speed to high as the sugar is moistened. This will be a rather stiff buttercream.  

Chocolate olive oil ganache topping  

Prep time: 10 minutes  

Total time: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling time  

  • 2 bars (3.5 ounces each) good quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  1. In the top of a double boiler set atop simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the olive oil until the mixture is smooth and cohesive.  
  2. Let the mixture sit at room temperature, whisking or stirring every 20 minutes or so, until it has set enough to ice your cake. This can take between 1 and 2 hours, depending on how warm your kitchen is. If the mixture becomes too firm, beat it with a hand or stand mixer to smooth it out again.  

Recipe notes: 

  • Both the cake and the buttercream filling can be made ahead. The cake can be baked the day before, or it can be made up to two weeks in advance and frozen; if freezing, let the cake come to room temperature before assembling the cake. The buttercream can be made up to 2 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Let come to cool room temperature, and vigorously mix, before preparing the recipe.  
  • In Step 3 of the cake assembly, you’ll notice that a portion of the cake is cut off. This portion of the cake is not used in the recipe, but it doesn’t mean you have to throw it out. This cake can be cut into small pieces and used as an ice cream topping, transformed into cake pops, or cut into slivers and dipped in chocolate olive oil for a sophisticated snack. 

This is Happening: Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie

Well, hello. 

Dark chocolate and olive oil come together to form one of the most memorable and crave-worthy pies you’ve ever tried! 

It is a fact: the world is currently experiencing a salted caramel boom, and it’s unlikely it will ever end. Why would you ever want it to, though? I mean, salted caramel is an inherently perfect food, combining equal parts sweet and salty for a completely crave-worthy flavor experience. But it really, really, really shines in this pie, which is made with a unique olive oil-salted caramel filling which is nutty, rich, and totally delicious. The texture is simply perfect:  firm enough to hold its form for clean slices, but gooey enough to give a pleasant little caramelly ooze once served on a plate.  

But wait, there's more! That luscious caramel filling is then topped with a rich, flavorful olive oil ganache made with chopped and melted dark chocolate, and then topped with coarse sea salt. All served atop a crunchy cookie crust, this pie is a study in delicious contrast, and perfect for chocolate and caramel lovers.  

It's bound to become part of your frequent baking rotation!

Chocolate Salted Caramel Pie - printable version here

  • Active time: 45 minutes  
  • Total time: 4 hours, 45 minutes, plus chilling  
  • Makes one 9-inch pie 

For the crust

  • 1 ½ cups finely crumbled cookies (graham crackers or shortbread cookies work well) 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan 
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  

For the filling  

  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  • 2 teaspoons kosher sea salt 
  • ¼ cup brown sugar 

For the topping

  • 5 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate (51% cacao was used in this recipe) 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on top 

Necessary supplies

  • A 9-inch pie plate 
  • A 9-inch square or 9×13-inch rectangle baking pan 
  • A roasting pan, or a vessel large enough to hold the above baking pan with clearance on all sides 

How to do it: 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease the pie plate on the bottom and sides with olive oil. 

In a large bowl, mix the cookie crumbs, olive oil, and salt until it is a cohesive, evenly moistened mixture. Gently press the mixture into the greased pie plate, making sure to press the mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan.  

Place the pie plate in the preheated oven, and bake for 10 minutes, or until there is a slight matte look to the crust and it is fragrant and toasty-smelling. Remove from the oven and set to the side to cool completely. 

Increase the oven heat to 425°F. Now, grab either a 9×9 or 9×13-inch baking plate. Have nearby your roasting pan or slightly larger pan, in which the smaller pan can comfortably fit with clearance on all sides. 

Pour the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract, and salt into the baking pan. Give it a light mix to combine everything–it won’t come together in a smooth, creamy and cohesive mixture, but that is OK for now. Just give it a few stirs for even distribution, then add the brown sugar and give it another stir. Once again, combining everything into a smooth mixture isn’t hugely important right now. 

Place the pan with the sweetened condensed milk inside of the larger vessel, and slowly pour water in the larger vessel until it reaches about halfway up the smaller baking pan. Pour along the side so that none of the water gets into the sweetened condensed milk mixture (although it is not going to ruin the recipe if a little splash of water gets into the mixture). It’s better to do this with the smaller pan already in the larger pan, because you don’t have to worry about sloshing due to water displacement. 

Place a sheet of foil on the top of the baking pan with the condensed milk mixture. Leave it loosely wrapped as you will need to access the mixture throughout the baking process. 

Very gently place the entire bulking mass into your preheated oven, taking care not to let the water spill. 

The mixture will bake for two hours total, but you will require some mixing during the process. At 40 minutes, remove the mixture from the oven, lift the foil, and give the mixture a stir (you’ll see it starts to look more “mixed” at this point, although it may be somewhat bumpy or separated). Check the water level and replenish if needed. Place the pans back in the oven. 

40 minutes later (this is 80 minutes into the baking process now), repeat the previous step. Place the pans back in the oven. 

Once your 120 minutes have passed, turn the oven heat off, but leave the mixture in the oven for about 20 more minutes. Remove from the oven, and gently remove the pan of condensed milk. Place it on a heatproof surface, and gently stir the mixture. It may still have some bumps and lumps but it will mostly dissipate as you mix. Once mostly smooth (a little bit of texture is fine), pour into the prepared pie shell. Let the mixture set completely at room temperature (this can take up to 2 hours) before completing the next step. 

Once the caramel has set (you can test it by tilting the pan; the mixture should stay put), make your olive oil ganache topping. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the olive oil until the mixture is silky and smooth. 

Pour the chocolate ganache over the caramel layer. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired. 

Refrigerate the pie for several hours, or until ready to serve. While the pie is eatable right away, it will be sticky and a little messy when cut. Refrigerating will ensure that everything “sets”, giving the pie an easier texture for cutting and serving. 

What's your favorite way to enjoy salted caramel?

Happy Unicorn Bento Box

When I was younger, I had a peanut butter (CRUNCHY ALWAYS) sandwich in my lunch basically every single day. With few exceptions, this was my lunch from Kindergarten through the time I was a senior in high school. 

I'm not telling you this merely to share trivia about my peanut butter consumption; I'm sharing it so that you'll understand why, when Peanut Butter and Company hit me up to create a kid's lunch-friendly bento box idea, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Because here, I had not only the chance to revisit the peanut butter-centric lunches of my youth, but also to create the lunchbox of my dreams. 

Naturally, I knew it had to involve unicorns and rainbows. And peanut butter, and cake. Here's what I've come up with.

I call it "Happy Unicorn Bento Box". I had it for lunch after taking these photos, and I can tell you from personal experience that it is just as joyful to consume as an adult as I'm sure it would be for a child. 

This joyful lunch is not only an object of visual delight, but it's a treat for the senses, too. It provides balance, a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of health, and plenty of fun. 

Here's how you make it! 

Happy Unicorn Bento Box

You'll need:

  • a slice of bread
  • a horse-shaped cookie cutter (see note) 
  • 2 or so tablespoons of Peanut Butter and Company Crunch Time Peanut Butter
  • Sprinkles (RAINBOW) 
  • 4-5 baby carrots
  • 4-5 small sticks celery 
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 
  • 1 cup purple sticky rice (recipe below) 

Let's start with the sandwich, because it's truly the Major Player in the lunchbox, right? Choose a slice of bread that is large enough to accommodate your horse cookie cutter.

Note: why a horse? OK, so I have a unicorn cookie cutter, but I have found that when it comes to cutting out a unicorn's horn in bread, it's just a little too wimpy. So I think you should make the cutout, then fashion a horn with the discarded bread; simply cut a horn shape and use a little bit of peanut butter to make a horn happen. 

Top that horse/unicorn with peanut butter (it's always going to be crunchy for me, til the day I die, so go ahead and use PB+Co's Crunch Time). Then, top that with sprinkles, because WHY NOT?

OK, so now that you have a unicorn covered in rainbows, place it in your bento box. Then, make your rice. 

How should you make your rice? OK, so I like to use short grain sushi-style rice. Combine 1 cup of rice with 1 1/2 cups of water (or broth, etc). Cook until the water is absorbed. When the water is mostly absorbed, add some red and blue food coloring to make it a deep purple. Set to the side. 

OK, so you have your unicorn in your bento box and your rice cooling. Bring your attention back to the box. Layer celery sticks along the bottom, cutting stalks as needed to accommodate the shape of the unicorn. Next, add a layer of cheese slices above the celery. Then, add some yellow or light orange cheese cubes.Then, add a row of carrot slices. Next come the cherry tomato slices.

Finish it off with the rice! To make balls, dip your hands in water, then form the rice into balls. Sprinkle with golden star sprinkles if you happen to have them handy, then place in the box. 

Ummm....what about dessert? Please, don't leave your kid (or yourself) hanging. Pack a smaller box with a slice of cake, and use decorating gel and blueberries to form eyes and a mouth. Pack with extra fruit to fill out the box, and, you know, for health.

Enjoy lunch!

You'll Want to Eat Everything Out of Chocolate Bowls

Whatever you're eating right now, I am pretty sure it would taste better if you were eating it out of a bowl made of chocolate.

See? It makes even health food fun.

These delectable bowls are composed of one simple ingredient: dark chocolate, which is melted and cleverly molded into a bowl shape using a simple kitchen tools that just about everyone has around: small bowls, a spatula or pastry brush, and plastic wrap. Simply line the bowls with plastic, spread the melted chocolate on the lined surface, and let the chocolate become firm. 

Once the bowls have set, they can act as an ingenious and delicious vessel for whatever type of food you prefer. 

Recipe notes:  

  • Don’t have a vessel that is ⅓ cup capacity? You can use any small bowl with a capacity between ¼ and ½ cup. The yield in your recipe may differ slightly depending on the size vessel you use to mold your bowls.  
  • If you don’t have six bowls, this is ok: you can make the chocolate bowls a few at a time and re-use the same molding bowls.  
  • Wait until right before you're ready to serve dessert to fill these babies for the best structure. 

Chocolate bowls 

Makes 6 bowls  - Printable version here

Prep time: 20 minutes  

Total time: 40 minutes 


2 bars (3.5 ounces each) dark or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped  


Heavy duty plastic wrap (BPA-free)  

a small spatula or pastry brush, to spread chocolate  

Rounded cup or bowl with an approximately ⅓ cup capacity  


Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, or by placing it in a heatproof bowl and microwaving in 15-second blasts until the chocolate is mostly melted. Once the chocolate is mostly melted, stir it gently; the remaining bits should melt in the residual heat.  

Let the melted chocolate cool for 5-10 minutes. While it cools, line the inside of six small bowls with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap in as smoothly as you can to smooth it into the shape of the bowl (a few small wrinkles are OK). Use enough plastic wrap so that it slightly hangs over the sides, which will make removal easier later. If you don’t have six bowls for molding, this is ok: you can make the chocolate bowls a few at a time and re-use the same molding bowls.  

Using either your small spatula or pastry brush, spread a thin and even layer of chocolate inside of the plastic wrap lining each of the molding bowls, taking special attention to spread the chocolate on the sides. Don’t go too nuts: you’ll put a second layer of chocolate in the bowls, so only use about ½ of the melted chocolate for this step. Once you’ve put a layer of chocolate in each plastic-lined bowl, place them in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. This will help them “set”.  

After 10 minutes, remove each bowl unit from the refrigerator. The initial layer of chocolate should be firm and look slightly matte. Brush the inside of each bowl with another layer of chocolate, once again giving special attention to the sides of each bowl.  

Return the molding bowls to the refrigerator, and let them set for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator, and use the plastic wrap overhanging the sides to pull out the chocolate bowl from the molding bowl. As gently as possible, peel the plastic wrap off. It should come off very easily, and you will be left with chocolate bowls. Keep the bowls in the refrigerator, covered in plastic, until ready to fill. 

Once ready to serve, fill the bowls and enjoy! 

CakeSpy's Recent Craftsy Posts

I have been writing some very interesting and cool stuff for the Craftsy blog as of late--check out what I have been writing and making!

August 26: National Cherry Popsicle Day, and Links for my Birthday

Happy Birthday to ME! Will I be enjoying a cherry popsicle on National Cherry Popsicle Day? HELL NO! I will be having birthday cake. THIS birthday cake.

This is the best birthday cake recipe ever. And I will listen to zero arguments because it is my birthday.

Make today magic, whether it's your birthday or not!

Recipe here.

and since it is my birthday, I'd like to celebrate with a batch of Baker's Dozen links, but all dedicated to funfetti-themed food!

You must make: Funfetti Marshmallows. (CakeSpy

You also must make: Funfetti Gooey Butter Cake. (CakeSpy

Funfetti cream pie! (The Domestic Rebel)

Funfetti pie crust! (Studio DIY)

Homemade funfetti cake. (CakeSpy)

Love it: funfetti cake batter breakfast bake. (Running with Spoons)

Funfetti gooey butter cookies! (Cookies & Cups)

Funfetti cheesecake stuffed crescent rolls! (The Chunky Chef)

Funfetti sandwich cookie pops. Yum! (Marisa's Italian Kitchen)

No-bake funfetti fudge. (Spoon University)

Funfetti popsicles! (Unusually lovely)

Funfetti cookies n cream blondies. (A BaJillian Recipes)

Funfetti pudding cookies. (Crazy for Crust)

Book of the week: The Disney Princess Cookbook. Why? Um...because it exists?