Just Desserts

red velvet cake

Posted in cake,Chocolate by nora on November 20, 2011

ok, i know i haven’t updated this in a while, but here’s a new recipe i tried from smitten kitchen

if you haven’t guessed already, the recipe is for red velvet cake. i haven’t tried it yet, because i’m assembling and serving it down at the beach for thanksgiving, but i will post pictures and reactions of my family as soon as i can!


  • 3 9-inch cake pans (round)
  • electric mixer
  • oven (kinda obvious, but you never know)

this makes 3 cake rounds


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 cups of cake flour (all-purpose is ok in a pinch)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons red food coloring, or 1 teaspoon red gel coloring (dissolved into 6 tablespoons water)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

1. preheat the oven to 350. put a tsp of butter in each of the 3 cake pans (9-inch) in the oven till the butter melts, then brush the interior bottom and sides with the butter, then line the bottoms with parchment

2. whisk the cake flour, cocoa, and salt in a bowl

3. put the oil and sugar in the bowl of the electric mixer and beat a medium speed until well-blended. add the eggs one at a time. turn it down to low, then add the red food coloring, VERY CAREFULLY (it tends to splash everywhere). add the vanilla, then the flour/cocoa mixture alternately with the buttermilk in  2 batches. scrape down the bowl and beat just till combined.

4. place the baking soda in a small dish, then add the vinegar (it wont blow up, don’t worry) and add to the batter while the machine is still running, for 10 seconds. (this makes the cake nice and fluffy)

divide the batter among the pans, and bake for 30-40 minutes, till a toothpick in the very middle comes out clean. if the cakes are on different levels of the oven, you need to rotate them.

CUPCAKE VERSION: makes about 35 cupcakes (liners filled 3/4 of the way), at 350 for around 20-25 minutes, but check on them 2/3 of the way through, just in case.

FROSTING: (this is 2 times the recipe, because i like a generous amount of frosting, the original gave you a thin layer). makes 12 cups

  • 16 oz (2 packages) of cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, room temp.
  • 6 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. put the cream cheese and the butter in the mixer bowl, and beat till light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). add the sugar and vanilla, and beat on low to combine.

FROSTING TIPS:  spread a thin layer over the top and sides of the cake to “glue” the loose crumbs there, then add the rest of your frosting.

if it’s too soft, chill for about 10 minutes before using it.



Posted in Chocolate,Holidays by nora on April 13, 2010

I’m sooo happy spring is here, one of my favorite things is the CANDY!!!!! Peeps, chocolate, maltballs, jellybeans, chocolate bunnies, I could go on and on! What are your favs?

Hot Cocoa

Posted in Chocolate by nora on January 8, 2010

 Since it’s snowing, a good cup of hot cocoa can help a lot to warm frozen fingers. Be sure to cut up the chocolate chips very well or else they stick to the bottom of the cup. Makes about 20 servings.

What you need:

  • 3 cups nonfat dry milk
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

What you do:
Combine ingredients in large bowl. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months. To make hot cocoa, stir 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup of hot milk. Top with whipped cream or marshmallows. (see Home-Made Marshmallows!!)

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels

Posted in Chocolate by nora on December 29, 2009

These are the BEST pretzels ever! If you have had them you know what I’m talking about. I mean, the peanut butter filled pretzels are good, but this is pure genius! These are found at Trader Joe’s, but not with the other peanut butter pretzels. To keep the chocolate from melting they are in the freezer area with the cookies and microwave meals.I’ve found that these are perfect movie snacks, and they are much cheaper than the candy provided at the movies. I haven’t seen them, but I’ve heard that there are DARK chocolate ones as well.What could be better! Just make sure you don’t eat the whole bag, that’s what I almost did! 🙂

Smores on a Stick!

Posted in Chocolate,Marshmallows by nora on December 19, 2009

If you are like most people, you’re probably wondering; how else do you make a S’more? I got this idea from gimmesomeoven.com . This S’more is completely on the stick, graham cracker and all! Watch out for the sharp point!                                                                               

You will need:

  • 1 bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dark chocolate if you like)
  • 1 bag of large marshmallows
  • 1 package (not box!) of graham crackers, you can use crumbled candy canes for a more festive look
  • wood skewers (I used skewers because I couldn’t find popsicle sticks)

How to make them:

Melt the bag of chocolate chips, add shortening if it’s too thick for you. Put the grahMake sure the marshmallow dosen't fall of tha stick!am crackers in a plastic bag and crumble them till they are tiny bits with no giant chunks. Pour the graham crackers into a plate and place that next to the chocolate (this would be the time to crumble the candy canes if you are doing those). Skewer the marshmallows on the skewers and dip them into the chocolate, making sure to cover the top as well. Roll the marshmallows in the graham crackers covering the bottom as well. Do this until  you have finished the last marshmallow. Set these in the freezer or any where cold to let them set. Wait an hour or so, then enjoy!

Super Duper Brownies

Posted in Chocolate by nora on October 5, 2009

Brownie 301

Brownie 296

These have GOT to be the best brownies ever!!! They are also very easy to make!

You will need:

1/2 cup of butter

2 oz of unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 whole eggs

1/2 cup sifted flour

a pinch of salt

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

What you do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take a 8×8 brownie pan, flip it over, and cover it with tinfoil. Care fully lift the mold off the pan, and place it inside the pan. Place a pat of butter in the pan and put it in the oven for a few minutes. Once the butter is melted, spread it evenly around the inside of the pan.

In a bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave for 2 minutes. Mix together and heat an additional 2 minutes if needed. Add the sugar and the vanilla to the chocolate mixture and combine. Add the eggs to the chocolate mixture and combine(easier if you do one egg at a time.) Add the flour and the salt and combine. If you are using walnuts add those too. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth. Bake 30-35 minutes. Ta-Da!