I am so excited to share a post I did for Frosting for the Cause today. It’s in tribute to my mother, in celebration of who she is, being 9 years cancer free, and for her her delicious banana puddin’, which of course has my own twist on it.
Here is just the start …
This past year I’ve grown an obsession with baking. Baking things I find. Baking things I create.
My husband just shakes his head when I bring home a new cook book. How many is too many? At one point should I seek professional help?
I’m not sure exactly where this new found love came from. My mother can’t make cookies to save her life. She often came to class parties with a bag of Oreos. I always thought it was because she worked at home and outside the home and there simply wasn’t enough time in the day. As I look back now, I realize it probably had more to do with the fact that she really couldn’t bake a batch of cookies without burning them. Ever.
Head on over to Frosting For the Cause to read the rest …
Snickers for Dad.
Almond Joy for Mom.
That’s what I remember getting at the convenience store when I was old enough to start spending my own money and buying things for my family. Dad loved Snickers. Mom loved Almond Joy.
For the longest time I stuck to eating Snickers with my dad. I always thought coconut, since it’s a fruit (right?), was at best healthy (i.e. good for you) which meant it was incompatible with something as naughty as chocolate and at worst was just plain gross in both taste and texture. Somewhere along the line I had gave it a try and had an epiphany, it’s pretty good. And coconut is too.
So now that I’m baking … A LOT… and have found a niche for muffins and cupcakes… and am learning to be adventurous and make my own creations I’ve been trying to figure out how to take candy bars and make them into a dessert. It’s essential that whatever dessert I create be inspired by the candy bar and not just a chocolate cupcake with a miniature candy bar throw on top or baked inside. While perhaps delicious that seems a bit too simple and lacking some creativity.
Well this morning I put together my first rough draft of my first Candy Bar Creation: Almond Joy Cake(s).
Without further ado, here it is …
Chocolate Cake Ingredients
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsps vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
Coconut/Almond Filling Ingredients
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped up a bit**
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsps vanilla
- 2 cups coconut
Whipped Topping Ingredients
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp coconut extract
- 2 tbsps powdered sugar
Chocolate Topping Ingredients
- 1/4 cup Semisweet chocolate, OR 1/4 cup milk chocolate OR 2oz unsweetened chocolate baking pieces
- Small spoonful of vegetable shortening if needed
- 2 Mixing Bowls
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Wooden Spoon
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Baking/cooking spray
- Muffin pans, bread pans, or 13×9 pan
First the cake,
- Grease bottoms of baking dishes you are using. I used three mini bread pans and 1 regular bread pan.**
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together and set aside.
- In another bowl, beat butter for about 30 seconds on medium to high speed.
- Gradually add sugar, about 1/4 cup at time, until combined.
- When all the sugar is added, beat for about 2 minutes at medium speed. You want to achieve a light, fluffy texture.
- Add 1 egg at a time, beating after each egg is added.
- Add in vanilla and beat.
- Add in flour and coconut milk, alternating between the two. Beat on low speed and beat after each addition just until combined.
- Once all the flour and milk have been added, beat for about 20 seconds more on medium to high speed.
- Pour in dishes.
- For mini bread pans, I recommend 25-30 minutes. Check at 25 and do the additional 5 minutes if needed. You want to avoid the top getting dry and crumbling. For larger bread pans, I recommend 30-35 minutes and for a 13×9 pan, 35-40 minutes (again checking at the minimal time needed and adding time in the oven as needed).
- When done let cool on wire rack in pans for 10 minutes.
- Remove from pans and let cool for another 10 minutes.**
Next the filling,
- Place the cream, sugar, pinch of salt, and almonds in the saucepan and let simmer until sugar is dissolved. About 3 minutes.**
- Remove from heat and add vanilla and shredded coconut.
And now the whipped topping,
- Mix cream, coconut, and sugar with mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. About 10 minutes. Be careful not to whip too long and make butter. :) You are basically looking for it to thicken up.
For the chocolate drizzle,
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or on stove top, your preference.
- Add shortening if needed to make it more fluid like.
- Slice cake in half length-wise.**
- Remove top half and set to side.
- Spoon coconut/almond filling on bottom half. Be generous.
- Replace top half.
- Pour whipped topping over top of chocolate cake (spoon it on or use pastry bag or plastic bag).
- Drizzle chocolate on top
- Wala! You’re done!**
- You can use more almonds if you want.
- If you chop up a bit more, you are not looking to grind them up or have tiny pieces, just smaller pieces.
- I would lean toward using the mini bread pans or the 13×9 dish. They seem to bake up better.
- Letting cakes cool completely, though it seems a pain, is essential to the assembling process.
- You can roast the almonds before hand if you wish.
- You also don’t have to add the almonds in until you do the coconut.
- Use a bread knife.
- When I do this again I will either use a muffin pan or a 13×9 pan. If you use a 13×9 pan you can use a round or square cookie cutter to cut cake. If you do this leave cake in the 13×9 pan.
- When done you could add a few almonds on top for additional fun and taste.
Inspired by the following recipes (I took a little from all three and made a few adjustments to come up with my cake):
Last Friday I got the chance to “cater” my first event. I volunteered to fix all of the desserts for my church campus’ Children’s Ministry Volunteer Appreciation Night. I was pretty proud of myself. I spent approximately $140 and fed approximately 100 people. I do believe the treats were quite yummy.
I thought I’d share some of the treats that I made. Per the little poll I did, it was a toss-up between the Banana Nut Crunch Muffins and Momma’s Bread Pudding.
So I got to pick and here it is …
Momma’s Bread Pudding
I had never made bread pudding before, but a few years ago my momma was missing her momma. Grandma used to make bread pudding so I decided to give my try at it. I searched the internet and checked out the recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks. Using their recipe as a base I made a couple changes as I got inspired by the way different recipes on the internet added fruit.
I chose peaches as my fruit as it is my momma’s favorite fruit. And I use a Vanilla Sauce which came about because I did not have the ingredients required for the Caramel or Bourbon Sauce that was recommended and had already put the pudding into bake. I’ve found using the Vanilla Sauce makes the bread pudding a little different and get lots of compliments on it.
Bread Pudding Ingredients
- 4 beaten eggs
- 2 1/4 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 cups dry bread (french or italian or sourdough bread, 6 to 7 slices or 2 medium loaves)
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 4-6 fresh peaches or 2 cans of peaches (no sugar added) or 1 bag of frozen peaches (listed in order of how I would choose)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Dash of salt
- 13x9x2 pan
- 1 sauce pans (1 small/1 medium)
- large wooden or plastic spoon
- large mixing bowl
- whisk or large knife
- pairing knife if using fresh peaches
- knife if using fresh peaches
- The night before (or morning of) break up/tear up the bread into small pieces and place in 13x9x2. The goal is to let the bread get a little stale/hard. (You do not have to do this and the harder the type of bread you choose the less time you need to “air out” the bread. However, you will be putting peaches with juices and sauce over the bread so letting the bread get a little stale helps prevents an overly soggy bread pudding.)
- Leave out over night unwrapped or leave unwrapped for most of the day.
- If using frozen peaches, set out to thaw. (They do not have to be completely thawed out but should be close.)
- If using fresh peaches, peel skins off and cut into slices. You can also dice, but I like the slice look and getting a full slice when I serve/eat it.
- If using canned peaches, drain both cans. You want to get 90% of the juice out; a little juice left is okay and encouraged.
- In large mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
- Pour peaches over bread and mix up.
- Pour raisins evenly over peach/bread mixture.
- Pour egg mixture evenly over bread/peach/raisin mixture.
- Using the top of a large spoon, press the mixture down lightly.
- Bake, uncovered, in oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into center bread comes out clean.
- Cool. (How long you let cool is up to you. It tastes best served warm.)
- Boil 1 cup water in small saucepan.
- While water is warming up, mix cornstarch and sugar in medium saucepan.
- Slowly add water.
- Cook over medium heat until sugar-water starts to come to a gentle boil
- Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sauce should start to thicken up.
- Remove from heat and add in butter, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
- Pour over cooled/warm bread pudding. Be sure to pour evenly.
- Serve as is or with vanilla ice cream.
I have to say that I have never been a big fan of bread pudding. But even I enjoy this little treat.
And since it was made for my Momma and with her in mind, I call it Momma’s Bread Pudding.
Here is Momma and her two granddaughters, just a few years apart. lol
I came across Frosting for the Cause through another food blog (Crazy for Crust). Frosting for the Cause is a “project of Cookie and Cupcake Makers & Decoraters from Across Canada and the Unite States.” Their motto is “together we are baking a difference in awareness and research of cancers affecting women.”
Their goals are:
- to have 365 bakers and bloggers from across Canada and the US to bake a delicious treat and share the recipe in a guest post at Frosting for the Cause,
- each baker will also share a personal story with Frosting for the Cause about a women in their life who has had to deal with cancer,
- each baker will share their treats with a local Women’s Hospice or Cancer Society office,
- each baker will donate $25 to the Canadian or American Cancer Society raising a total of $9,125.
So on November 25th (right after mt favorite holiday), I will be sharing a special creation and telling you all about a pretty incredible woman at Frosting for the Cause. I hope you’ll join me there.