Cakes and Cupcakes

German Chocolate Cupcakes

I always prefer cupcakes to cakes and these German Chocolate Cupcakes are no exception.  There’s a much better ratio of coconut pecan topping to cake.   And you get bonus chocolate frosting on the top!  This recipe is for one batch of 24 cupcakes, but there was enough topping leftover for at least another 12 cupcakes.

Ingredients:

1 batch of chocolate cake mix (I used a box mix!)

1 jar of chocolate frosting

4 egg yolks

12 ozs. evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup butter

2 cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pecans.

Bake the cupcakes in liners, according to the instructions.  Let cool completely.

To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks, milk, and vanilla in a medium sauce pan.  Add the sugar and butter.  Continue whisking over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is thick.  Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and pecans.  Let cool.

Pipe frosting around the outer edge of each cupcake.  Add the coconut filling to the center.

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until potluck time!

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Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

I was feeling like a non-chocolate potluck dessert (a very rare occasion!) and Pineapple Upside Down Cake sounded really good.  I’ve never made it before and I thought cupcakes would be even better.  (I tend to prefer cupcakes over cakes because the ratio of toppings to cake is much more evenly distributed.)  Found this recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes on the Betty Crocker website.  The brown sugar butter glaze caramelizes the tops and the pineapple perfectly to make these cupcakes sweet and luscious!

Ingredients:

1 box yellow cake mix (I used Betty Crocker’s Extra Moist Yellow Cake and highly recommend it!)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

20 oz. can of sliced pineapple, drained and reserve the juice

1/3 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

12 maraschino cherries, cut in half

24 baking cups

Spray the baking cups really well with non-stick cooking spray.

Drain the pineapple slices and set the juice aside.  Cut the pineapple rings into four pieces each.  Cut the maraschino cherries in half.

On low speed for 30 seconds, mix the cake mix, oil, eggs, and pineapple juice.  Continue mixing on medium speed for two minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar.  Put 1 1/2 tsp. of butter mixture into each baking cup.  Add a maraschino cherry in the center (round side down) and then add two pineapple slices on top of the cherry.  Lastly, add 1/4 cup of batter on top of everything.

Bake the cupcakes in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes.  Flip the cupcakes upside down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Carefully remove the baking cup liners

Serve warm or at room temperature.  You’re ready for potluck time!

Easter Egg Nest Brownies

Easter Egg Nest Brownies are fun and really easy to make!  You can also make the brownies ahead of time and then let everyone decorate them at the potluck.

The inspiration for these treats came from different Easter cupcake pics that I found online.  I used brownie mix, but chocolate or vanilla cake mix will work great, too.

Ingredients:

1 batch of brownie mix (I used a box to keep things simple.  1 box will yield 12 brownies.)

1 container of pre-made vanilla frosting

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

Green food coloring

Assorted Easter candy

Bake the brownie mix according to directions in a greased, regular-sized muffin pan.  Start checking them for doneness about 10 minutes earlier than the instructed time.  Let them cool completely (If you don’t, they fall apart).  Then, carefully remove them from the pan.

Mix the coconut and food coloring (start with 2 or 3 drops and add more, as needed) in a bowl until combined.

Frost the brownies.  Then dip them, face down, in the coconut.  Top with your favorite Easter candy and gently press it into the coconut and frosting.  For extra fun, you can add a Peep to the center.  Apply some frosting to the bottom of the peep and press it down on the cupcake.  It bonds perfectly!

Now, you’re ready for potluck time!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

guinness-chocolate-cupcakes3

Since I’ve seen so many recipes for Chocolate Stout cupcakes lately, I decided that I must make them for St. Patrick’s Day!  The stout makes them extra soft and fluffy.  I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website and loved it because they only need a few ingredients and are so simple to make.  I chose to do a vanilla icing, but you can also do an Irish Cream frosting, which is perfect for an all adults potluck.

Ingredients:

1 box deviled foods cake mix

1 1/4 cups Guinness stout beer

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 stick butter, softened

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

4 T. milk

Using a mixer, combine together the cake mix, Guinness, oil, and eggs in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds.  Then, mix on medium high speed for another two minutes.

Line a regular-sized muffin tin with baking cups.  Scoop 1/4 cup batter into each tin.  If using a dark or nonstick pan, bake at 325 degrees (or 350 degrees if using a regular pan) for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack and let cool.

In a separate bowl, mix the butter and powdered sugar until combined.  Add the vanilla, salt, and milk. Mix on medium speed until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost them, and store them in an airtight container until potluck time!  (I made them the day before and they were still wonderful, but I wouldn’t make them any earlier than that.)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

sour-cream-coffee-cake

Make Sour Cream Coffee Cake for your next breakfast or brunch potluck!  This version has a pecan-streusel layer on the inside (you can use walnuts, too!).  It’s crunchy on the outside, but is perfectly moist and buttery on the inside.

The recipe comes from the Just A Matter of Thyme cookbook.  I have made many recipes from this cookbook and every one has been fantastic.  I highly recommend getting a copy of this cookbook!

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup sour cream

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

2 cups cake flour (or take 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour; add 2 T. cornstarch and sift)

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar.

Mix together the butter, white sugar, and eggs.  Fold in the sour cream and vanilla.  Fold in the dry ingredients until combined.  Pour half of the batter into a greased bundt pan.

Mix together the nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar to make the streusel filling.  Sprinkle it on top of the batter.  Spoon the rest of the batter over the filling.

Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.  Let cake cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

You’re ready for potluck time!

Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake3

Crumb Cake is great for breakfast potlucks!  You can make it the day ahead and it is great served warm or room temperature.

This recipe is from the Joy of Cooking cookbook.  The version pictured above does not include the coconut, but I have made it both ways and both are wonderful.

Ingredients for batter:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

2 T. vegetable or canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla

Ingredients for topping:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or shredded coconut

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup butter, melted

To make the batter:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cardamom.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. Fold the dry ingredients into the liquid ingredients until well combined.

Grease and flour a 9 x 13″ pan.  Drop the batter in dollops into the pan.  Smooth the top and set aside.

To make the topping:

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl until combined.  Add the melted butter and toss until large crumbs form.

Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover with foil or plastic wrap until potluck time.  Can be made a day ahead.

 

Strawberry Dream Cake

Strawberry Dream Cake

Strawberry Dream Cake is luscious, sweet, moist, light, and absolutely delicious!  EVERY time I make this cake, everyone goes crazy for it.  It is one of my favorite cake recipes and is perfect year round for any potluck, but I especially like to make it for spring and summer occasions.

Mary Lou, a former co-worker, gave this recipe to me years ago and it has been a staple in my recipe book ever since.

Ingredients:

1 package white cake mix

1 small box strawberry Jell-o

2 T. flour

3 eggs

1/4 cup water

10 oz. box frozen strawberries, thawed (I have only ever been able to find a 16 oz. container of frozen strawberries.  Make sure you buy the kind with sugar added.)

2/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1/4 cup softened margarine (I haven’t tried this with butter yet.  So, if you do and it works out, please let me know!)

3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Beat the cake mix, Jell-o, flour, eggs, and water in a large bowl on medium speed for two minutes.  Add 6.5 oz. of the strawberries including liquid (I use my glass measuring cup that has cups and ozs.) to the mix and beat 1 more minute.  Add the oil and beat 1 more minute.

Put the batter in a greased and floured 9 x 13″ pan. Bake for approximately 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  It will get golden brown on top and that’s normal. Let cake cool completely.

To make the frosting, mix the margarine, powdered sugar, and 3.5 oz. of strawberries including liquid until well blended.  This frosting is in somewhere in between a glaze and a frosting, so you may need to add a little more powdered sugar to thicken it up.  Frost the cake, cover it, and immediately put it in the fridge.

An hour of so before potluck time, take it out of the fridge and serve it at room temperature.

* Alternate serving suggestion:  Make them as cupcakes.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean!

Chocolate Caramel Cake

Chocolate Caramel Cake

Heath Bars, chocolate, caramel.  Need I say more?  You can never go wrong with this classic potluck cake recipe!

The recipe calls for 2 Heath Bars.  But, as you can see in the picture, I used a lot more than that.  So, if you LOVE Heath Bars like I do, get a bag of the snack size bars (minus what you eat in the process; usually ends up being about 1/2 to 2/3 of a bag).

And if you haven’t tried this recipe before, then you must!  Thank you, Marisa, for sharing this recipe!

Ingredients:

1 box German Chocolate Cake mix batter

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 jar caramel topping

1 pint of Cool Whip

2 Heath Bars, chopped

Make cake as directed in a 9 x 13″ pan.  Remove from oven and while still hot, use end of a wooden spoon to make several holes in the cake.  Pour sweetened milk and caramel topping over cake, spreading evenly.

After cake cools, spread Cool Whip on top and sprinkle with Heath Bar pieces.  You can serve right away or store in the fridge until it’s potluck time!

Irish Oatmeal Cake

This recipe comes from one of my favorite dessert cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts.  While this is a perfect St. Patrick’s Day potluck dessert, it’s really good at anytime for any occasion.

Cake Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached white flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Frosting Ingredients:

6 T. unsalted butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 T. milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour two 9 inch cake pans.

Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.  In a blender, whirl the oats to the consistency of cornmeal.  Stir them into the flour mixture and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar until light.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine the vanilla and buttermilk and add alternately with the flour mixture.  Mix until well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a knife tests clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.  Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes and then turn onto racks to cool completely.

For the frosting, melt the butter in the saucepan.  Add the brown sugar and simmer on very low heat for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Cooking the brown sugar creates a smoother frosting, so don’t cheat on time.)

Transfer the butter-brown sugar mixture to a bowl.  With an electric mixer, beat in the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla.  Add the milk a little at a time until the frosting is smooth and creamy.  While the frosting is still warm, fill and frost the cake.

Grandma’s Chocolate Eclair Cake

Thank you to Joyce for sharing her Grandma’s recipe!  It’s supposed to serve 20, but you’ll find that it’s a lot less as everyone takes really big portions of this delicious cake!

Ingredients:

1 lb. graham crackers

2 small packages vanilla instant pudding

3 cups milk

8 oz. carton of Cool Whip

2 envelopes of Nestle’s Choco Bake

2 tsp. white corn syrup

2 tsp. vanilla

2 T. butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3 T. milk

Butter a 9 x 13″ pan.  Cover bottom with whole grahams.  Mix pudding with milk.  Fold in Cool Whip.  Place half of the pudding mix over the graham crackers.  Cover with another layer of whole crackers.  Add the rest of the pudding mix on top.  Place a final layer of crackers on top of the mix.

To make the frosting, mix the choco bake, corn syrup, vanilla, butter, powdered sugar, and milk together.  Frost the top layer of crackers.

Refrigerate for 24 hours.