Banana Split Cake

I initially made this cake for a charity auction back in February but I had forgotten about it until this past weekend. My friend Missy was coming to town for the weekend, her birthday weekend, and I told her that I wanted to make her a cake. Upon asking her what kind of cake she wanted she very quickly replied that she wanted this banana split cake. Although I was confident she would tell me what she always tells everyone her favorite cake is, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, she surprised me and requested this cake that she had remembered I had previously made. I can only gather she chose this cake because it reminded her of the Atomic cakes from Chicago she would often get for her birthday when she was younger.

The overall idea of this cake is pretty ingenious. The cake layers are filled with the scent and taste of fresh bananas, very close to the taste and texture of a basic banana bread. The banana cake layers are filled with all the essential ingredients of a banana split; pineapple, strawberries, and rich chocolate sauce and the topped with the most delicate whipped frosting. Contrary to what some may believe this was actually a very light and refreshing cake. If you have a sweet spot in your heart for a good old fashion banana split I definitely recommend that you give this cake a try. It’s quite delicious! 

Banana Split Cake

Banana Split Cake

Banana Nut Cake
2 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 package (3.4 ounce) banana cream pudding mix
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3 large)
3/4 cup chopped peanuts

Whipped Frosting
1 (3.5 ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 (16 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

Toppings
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 large banana, sliced
1 cup pineapple pieces
1 (11.75 ounce) jar hot fudge topping, room temperature*
1 cup chopped peanuts
fresh whipped cream
Maraschino cherries

To make the cake,  Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk until smooth. Stir in bananas and chopped peanuts.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pans about 30 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

To make the frosting whisk together the pudding mix, milk and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in the powdered sugar until well combined. Fold in the whipped topping until no streaks remain.

* I find that it is best to slightly warm the chocolate in the microwave before drizzling onto the cake.

To assemble the cake cut each cooled cake in half lengthwise. Place one half, cut side up, on a cake stand. Spread a thin layer of frosting over cake. Cover with sliced strawberries. Use a small spoon to drizzle with fudge topping. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of chopped peanuts.

Place the other half of the first cake, cut side up, on top of the strawberry layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting over the cake. Cover with sliced bananas. Drizzle with fudge topping. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of chopped peanuts.

Place the bottom half of the other cake, cut side up, on top of the banana layer. Spread with a thin layer of frosting. Cover with pineapple pieces. Drizzle with fudge topping. Sprinkle with a tablespoon or two of chopped peanuts.

Place final cake half, cut side down, on top of pineapple layer. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate cake for 30-45 minutes.

Remove cake from refrigerator. Slowly pour remaining fudge topping over the top of the cake, starting in the center and moving outward in circles. Sit back and watch as the fudge flows down the sides of the cake. If it doesn’t start flowing on it’s own all around the cake, use a spatula to smooth the center, pushing the fudge outward. Sprinkle with remaining chopped peanuts. Garnish with whipped cream and cherries.
Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe as seen on Gold Medal Flour, Baker Blog
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Amber

Bacon and Eggs

I am always baking up treats and taking them to work for my co-workers to enjoy.  I bet they will be quite surprised when I tell them I brought in bacon and eggs for breakfast and they head to the break room to see my April Fools Day bacon and eggs.  I also sent some of these into work with my husband.  I hope he gets a kick out of tricking his co-workers.  :)

I am not sure where I originally got this idea from but I am pretty sure my sister had something to do with it.  I had not made these for quite awhile but somehow they came to mind when I was thinking of something to take into work .  These are always a huge hit with my co-workers.  These would be a really fun treat to make with children.

Bacon and Eggs
Bacon and Eggs

Ingredients:
White candy melts (or vanilla almond bark)
Yellow M&M’s
Pretzel sticks

Directions:
- Line baking sheets with parchment (or wax) paper and lay pairs of pretzels two inches apart covering the entire tray.
- Melt white chocolate in a double boiler, or in the microwave as per package directions.
- Spoon melted chocolate on top of pretzel pairs and top with one or two M&M’s.
- Let cool, remove from paper and place in air tight container in a cool place.

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Amber

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is by far my favorite recipe for chocolate cookies.  Ever since I came across this recipe on Pinterest I can’t seem to get enough of them.  The possibilities of add-ins are endless, milk chocolate, white chocolate, candy, nuts.  Change them up and make them your own, but make them often.

If you are like me and making cookies is more of a spur of the moment decision and not a planned event, let me teach you a trick to getting that butter to soften in 20-30 minutes.  The best, yet messiest way, to soften butter is to grate it with a cheese grater.  The second best, and my preferred method, is cutting the butter into tiny little pieces and letting it set under the heat of my range hood.  The smaller the pieces the quicker it softens

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk-chocolate chips
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1 – Heat oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed. Lower to medium speed and add the egg and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. On low speed, add the dry mixture to the butter mixture. Beat until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
2 – Form the dough into approximately 1 1/2-inch balls. Place on parchment- or foil-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart.
3- Bake until the centers are just set, about 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

Recipe as seen on Real Simple

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Amber

 

Irish Egg Rolls – Jessica’s Virtual Baby Shower

SunnySideUp
My friend and fellow blogger Jessica, of Sunny Side Up, is expecting her first baby in a few short weeks. Since many of Jessica’s friends live so far away from her we are celebrating the way bloggers do, with a virtual baby shower. I was so excited to see that I was invited to party along with them. Although I have only got to meet her once, Jessica and I have been friends for about 6 years now.  She is such a sweet lady and I wish her and her family all the best.

The theme of this shower is Jessica’s Pot of Gold. Jessica holds a special place in her heart for irish dancing and has even taught some very successful little dancers herself. Her love runs so deep that she has decided to give her daughter an Irish influenced name.  The dish I am bringing to the party is a traditional Irish dish, corned beef and cabbage, with a Chinese spin.  The spin that I put on the dish represents the time Jessica and her husband have recently spent living in China.

Be sure to check out the entire line-up of Irish influenced party food offered at this shower by visiting the hosts websites; Jessica (My Baking Heart) and Krystal’s (Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate). Thank you ladies for hosting a beautiful shower for our dear friend Jessica.  Before leaving, don’t forget the most important thing, mingle with the guest of honor.  Head on over to Sunny Side Up and wish Jessica and her husband well as they get ready to welcome their precious little girl into the world.

As luck would have it (did you get the pun? Luck, Irish themed baby shower?) Anyway, moving on, I just so happened to remember that egg rolls were on my kitchen bucket list.  Another one bites the dust on the list.  Making egg rolls was actually quite fun.  The part I don’t care for is my house smelling like hot oil for the rest of the day.  That is definitely a smell I can do without.  The egg rolls however, were quite delicious.  I will admit, I was skeptical as I had never eaten corned beef before or an egg roll before but I think the two combined together nicely and made a great finger friendly party food. 

Irish Egg Rolls

Corned Beef and Cabbage Egg Rolls

Ingredients:
15 egg roll wrappers
10 ounces corned beef brisket, diced
4 cups green cabbage, julienned
1 cup carrots, julienned
5 small Yukon gold potatoes, finely diced
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 egg, beaten
1 quart canola oil for frying
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Stone ground mustard or Chinese mustard for dipping

Directions:
Cook Vegetables- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over high heat. Add cabbage, carrots, and half the minced garlic. Cook just until the cabbage starts to give off liquid and reduces in half. Do not overcook; the cabbage should remain crisp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate mixture until completely cool. Return skillet to medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter, potatoes, remaining garlic, salt and pepper to taste and sauté 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water to skillet and cover until potatoes are cooked through. Place potatoes into refrigerator to cool. Once vegetables are cooled continue to next step.

Make Egg Rolls- On a work surface place one egg roll wrapper with a point toward you. Pat the cabbage and carrots dry with a paper towel. Place a heaping tablespoon the cabbage mixture on the wrapper and top with the same amount of corned beef and potatoes. Heavily brush all the edges of egg roll wrapper with the beaten egg. Begin rolling the wrapper tightly around the filling. Halfway up, fold in the sides, then continue to roll the rest of the way. Repeat with the other wrappers.

Fry egg rolls- In a large, high-sided pot, heat the oil to 350°F. Gently drop in the egg rolls (two at a time) and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on a towel. Slice in half on the bias.

Serve- Serve with stone ground mustard or Chinese mustard for dipping.

Recipe inspiration from The Nibble.

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Amber