Posts tagged ‘baking’

August 16, 2011

Chocolate (Mocha) Ice Cream Cake

It’s Celebration Time!!

My Dad’s Birthday was last week and Ice Cream Cake (the kind with real cake and without those little crunchy things) is one of his favorites – that and the Chocolate Mocha Cake that I  made for his retirement.

Dad’s birthday should (and is) reason enough to celebrate – but we have another reason to celebrate here at Teacher by Day – Chef by Night!

One year ago: August 17, 2010 I posted my very first blog post. I have come so far in this year… taking the plunge getting pictures posted on FoodGawker, gaining readers, being willing to experiment more, and the list goes on.

Now I have to look to the next year! In the next year I hope to continue to get images posted on FoodGawker, increase my readership, gain sponsors, get my own URL, and most of all continue to experiment & have fun in my kitchen!

While we reflect on my goals and look forward to the year ahead, I give you:

Ice Cream Cake

Chocolate Cake

cake from my Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Celebration cake, originally found on Sugar Cooking.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper (do not skip the paper on the pans).

Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Whisk to combine them well. Add the oil and sour cream and whisk to blend. Gradually beat in the water. Blend in the vinegar and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and be sure the batter is well mixed. Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. Let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely & then freeze overnight or at least 2 hours to proceed with the cake.

Ice Cream

I just used Store-Bought, you could make you own if you were feeling up to it! I used about 1/2 of a gallon – it was not quite enough, you should should at least 3/4 of a gallon or go all out and use the whole gallon! The better the quality Ice Cream you use the better your cake will be (look for the full-fat ones without additives like gum – the best ice cream is either homemade or made with just cream/sugar/eggs)

We were going for Mocha Cake so I used a layer of Coffee and a layer of Vanilla Ice Cream (so Mom could sleep and she just skipped on the Coffee). This would be awesome with whatever flavor Ice Cream you love (chocolate, mint chocolate chip, vanilla banana, etc)


Mocha Whipped Cream Frosting

  • 1 pint Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Instant Coffee (I used Decaf)
  • 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 3 Tablespoons (?) Sugar

Put your heavy cream into your mixer. Allow to get thick, then add your coffee/cocoa. Combine that fully. Once your Whipped Cream is almost thick – add your sugar. TASTE at this point and see what you think – add more sugar if you want it sweeter. Allow your whipped cream to get nice and thick with stiff peaks.


Bake Layers, Allow to Cool (completely – freeze for at 2 hours after they are cooled to help them firm up as well). When you put your layers in the freezer, wrapping each one in saran individually will allow for assembly to be the easiest. Also – make sure you have room in the freezer to stack all of these with a little wiggle room all around so there is a ‘safety zone’ once it is frosted!

Take your ice cream out of the freezer about 10 minute before you are ready to start. You want to put it into a seperate bowl so you can smoosh it around to make it smooth and ready to spread. Once you have a thick/spreadable Ice Cream take out your layers and place one on your cake platter (or your cardboard cake thing or whatever you make your cake on – I personally love to use the bottom of my springform pan!). Spread your ice cream onto the cake & top with another layer, pushing down to make it flat. Return to the freezer

About an hour later – repeat with the next layer of ice cream and top with your 3rd cake layer. Return this to the Freezer again. (now is a good time to make the whipped cream)

Take out your cake & ice it (haha – you are icing and ice cream cake!). I iced my cake in two steps, about 1/3 of the icing in a “crumb coat” but since it was frozen it didn’t really need it. Allowing the icing to set up for about 20 minutes in the freezer allowed me to get a much smoother top coat of my whipped cream on the cake. I top with some shaved chocolate, allowed to set again and then finally just piped some more whipped cream around the edge.

This cake is worth the time/effort that goes into it!

I hope that you have enjoyed my first year of blogging as much as I have – and if you are just visiting for the first time, I hope that you stick around and help me see where the next year will take us!

And I leave you with a Question… What suggestions/advice do you have for me as I enter my 2nd year with this blog?

July 8, 2011

Butterbeer Cupcakes

These cupcakes go out to all the Harry Potter Fans out there!

More than a decade is coming to a close. In June of 1997 the first Harry Potter book [Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone] was released and a Nation (world) was hooked.. we read the books, we hurt and laughed with the characters, we bought/devoured/shared the books, we loved hearing the ‘rags to riches’ story of the author, & were thrilled movies when the first movie was released in 2001 (and compared every detail of the movie with the book). This month – an era draws to a close (or at least becomes a complete package for future generations. The final installment of the last Harry Potter Movie [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows] comes out next week!

For my birthday a few months back – I went to NYC with my Mom, 2nd Mom, & two youngest “siblings”. We headed into the FREE Teacher Preview Day of Discovery Times Square: Harry Potter (as well as visiting Toys R Us, the Disney Store, and getting great pizza @ John’s – but I digress). It was an awesome day and the Harry Potter exhibit was pretty cool, I enjoyed checking out all the details that went into every prop and costume on display (kinda like a Potter Museum!).

Well, after visiting the exhibit and being totally stoked for the final installment in the series, I noticed that Erica (over at Erica’s Sweet Tooth) had posted these Butterbeer Cupcakes, which I immediately knew I had to make for my dear friend, co-worker, and self-proclaimed Harry Potter addict: Jolene. Happy Harry Potter celebration to Jolene & everyone else out there!

Enjoy these cupcakes as you curl up with a good book, or head out to watch the last movie, or make a batch and have a Harry Potter Movie  Marathon with your friends.

While you are enjoying these cupcakes, don’t be afraid to try this Warm Butterbeer OR a (alcohol included) Butterbeer Cocktail: 1/2 can cream soda, 1 shot butterscotch schnapps, and a 1/4 t of that butter flavored powder – ENJOY!!

Butterbeer Cupcakes


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp butter flavoring
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cream soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake tins with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffly, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each. Add in vanilla and butter flavoring.

Combine buttermilk and cream soda in a small bowl and alternate adding that combination with the flour mixture with the mixer on low, starting and ending with the flour.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-17 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely on wire racks.

Butterscotch Ganache

  • 1 11-oz package butterscotch chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Melt butterscotch chips and heavy cream together using a double boiler until completely smooth. Cool to room temperature to allow the ganache to slightly thicken. Fill a plastic squeeze bottle with the ganache, and insert tip into each cupcake, filling until the ganache starts to slightly overflow.

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup butterscotch ganache
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp butter flavoring
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  • Splash of cream (as needed)

For the frosting, cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring, and salt and mix until well combined. Beat in powdered sugar and allow it to come together for about 2 minutes. Add cream a tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes with a large tip and drizzle leftover butterscotch ganache over each.

Recipe yields 18 cupcakes.

And I leave you with this question… what Movies or Books are a Pop-Culture Phenomenon in your life!?

June 22, 2011


“We just finished up Blue’s Clues – We just finished up Blue’s Clues – We just finished up Blue’s Clues – because its a really fun show!” 

The local theater group that I’m part of (Black Sheep Productions at the Sherman Theater) just finished our production of BLUE’S CLUES LIVE – BLUE’S BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!


Growing up, I was not part of the “Blue’s Generation” but still had seen enough Blue’s Clues to be excited – especially since we know I am really just a kid at heart!.

I was Magenta (who only showed up at the end of Blue’s party). Although at first I was bummed to not have Magenta be a larger part of the show – showing up 2/3 of the way through had its good side: it gave me less time in that costume! These costumes were awesome, but hot and big and they took a lot outta me!

In order to celebrate Blue’s Clues I made BLUE VELVET CUPCAKES! Warning: these take a lot of food coloring and unlike Red Velvet: these are made with vanilla cake. I did cheat a little on these and used a box of Betty Crocker Mix (but I did make my own frosting since I’m not a fan of can frosting at all – that is why I thought I hated frosting growing up actually).

the cupcakes are a lot more 'blue' in person

Since this just used vanilla cake mix – I bet that you could take this recipe with your Wilton food colorings and make whatever color cakes/cupcakes you wanted – that would be very very cool for a kid’s party (or graduation party or the possibilities are endless). Get your Velvet Cake groove-on!

Blue Velvet Cupcake

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® white cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons royal blue paste food color
  • 1 toothpickful violet paste food color
Follow the directions on the back of your box of cake mix for cupcakes (in my oven, it always takes the shorter amount of time with cupcakes). Make sure to add your food coloring after the rest of the ingredients have been incorporated & remember that the color will change a bit as it bakes – so it might look a little too ‘green’ before baking – but it turns out a nice blue!


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1T + milk
  • 1 t vanilla (I made this an almond flavored – do whatever you feel)
  • blue food coloring to desired shade (add a drop or two of red to richen it as well
Whip your butter & cream cheese until light and airy in your mixer. Then add your powdered sugar. Once incorporated add some milk to get desired consistency (you can always add, but can not take out). Then add your flavoring and start mixing colors!!
I always like to pipe the icing onto my cupcakes (I actually find it easier than using an offset spatula & I can always get a more consistent look). Feel free to ice these however you want and add some sugar sprinkles on top for even more fun!

And I leave you with this, a quote from another classic show: the Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum, “Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”

May 25, 2011

Fondant Fun for a Sweet 16

My baby sister turned 16!

Ok – lets back this up. She isn’t the youngest of the family AND she isn’t really my sister. Many moons ago I began doing theatre in my middle school. I instantly clicked with my directors, a husband & wife team (they may be regretting this today). My first show that I did with them was “A Christmas Carroll” and for some reason they thought it would be a good idea to let this 7th grader carry their 4 month old on stage as a poor beggar woman (yes, I have known her for 16 years since she was an infant). Luckily for that little baby, she cried before the curtain went up every night and I went onstage with just a basket (and ‘threw’ the crying child at my mom who was helping backstage). The next year one of my featured roles was walking around dressed as a maid with my [5-year-old?] “brother” dressed as Sandy the dog on a collar/leash (guess he actually listened to me at that point and that is how I got that part – hey, he listened to me, imagine that).

officially sisters as of 2000: Music Man

A few years later and that boy-dog is capturing hearts on stage being adorable & the crying baby is still shy but now wearing matching outfits as me during “Music Man” I always wanted a sister and being cast as Zaneeta with J as my little sister (I think she had an official name!?) gave me the opportunity to call this girl my sister.

Fast – forward another 11 years and we reach today where this beautiful young woman introduces me to her friends as her “big sister” and I have spent many-a-holiday and random event at their house.

my siblings - the ones I choose

They taught me many things over the years, including: you’re never fully dressed without a smile, a good night’s sleep is important, Irish accents are great fun, happiness is anything that’s loved by you, and that yes – there is hope! It is said that that the family you choose is just as important as the family you are related to – well those 6 people in that family that I chose are some of the most important people in my life and I wouldn’t imagine it any other way. 

Wow – that was a long & sappy sidetrack, sorry!



To decorate these I colored 1/2 the container of frosting bright pink and the other half a bright green (using a combo of colors from the Wilton 12 icing color pack). Then I did the same thing with the fondant (yay to playing with play-doh) and rolled it out (it should have been way thinner). Finally I just used my nice, small cookie-cutter to make a whole bunch of stars.

"naked" cupcakes

These may look really pretty (ok, really pretty for my first time – at least maybe give me that?) but the taste is just ‘eh’. I was not a fan of any of the “boxed” flavors and the fondant tastes like worn out bubble gum. I am usually a taste over looks kinda girl (you can’t just be a pretty face) so overall, I give these a thumb down… even though they did look nice on the dessert part of the table.

stars for the star

JoElle's beauty

Talk about looking nice, why don’t we take a look at JoElle’s (first attempt too, might I add) fondant covered cake that she made. Somehow we created almost the same color fondant too! From now on, I am leaving major cake decorating to former classmate JoElle & I’ll stick to other things… great work lady!

p.s. bonus points if you can name the shows that I kinda-sorta-ish referred to in this post that I was in….

May 20, 2011

Chocolate Mug Cake

Microwave Chocolate Cake

5 – Minute Chocolate Cake

10 – Minute Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Mug Cake

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”

How many of you love those Warm Delights by Betty Crocker, but cant’t bring yourself to spend the money to spoil yourself on them? (Or you just get them when they are on sale/you have a coupon & you wish you could have them more often since molten warm goey chocolate cake is too good to not have whenever you want it)…. Ok – thanks, put your hands down!

This is the make at home, do it yourself, whatever, whenever, whoever, version of those ‘instant’ cakes and they are just TOO GOOD! You are now just 10 minutes from warm Chocolate Cake.

Wait, let me repeat that… “You are now just 10 minutes away from fresh warm Chocolate Cake.” Did it sink in that time?

10 Minutes: the time it takes to put on your makeup, the time time it takes to make a pot of coffee, [less than] the time it takes to make a pot of pasta, the time it takes to walk a mile, OR the time it takes to make a fresh, from scratch chocolate cake!!

Remember, just because you can have something this delicious in just 10 minutes [every day] doesn’t mean that you should (that is a reminder from me to both of our waistlines, feel free to check out Calorie Count as a reminder as to why you do not need this every day & that yes, it is still cake).

A photo of the e-mail print-out my mom gave me…


  • 4 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
  • 1 egg
  • 3 Tablespoons Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Applesauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • optional: 3 T chocolate chips
  • 1 large mug
Add all your dry ingredients to the mug & mix well. Toss in your egg and mix thoroughly (you may want to mix your egg in another container before putting it into the mug). Then add your milk, applesauce, & oil to combine that. (I mix my wet in another container & then put them into the mug to make sure its mixed well) Once it’s all combined, add your vanilla and any mix-ins you are putting it.

popping with goodness

If you are cooking just one mug at a time it should take about 3 minutes in a 1000-watt microwave. The mug will “explode” over the top but should not spill over, don’t worry! Allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy right out of the mug (or make another dish dirty and spill it out onto another plate).
The “original” recipe calls for 3 Tablespoons of oil, but when I looked up the nutrition facts of it that way I almost died, so decided to do a 2 to 1 ratio of applesauce to oil: feel free to make this with whatever ratio of oil/applesauce you want!

asking to be eaten

Nutella Version – I’ll have to try this one! AND – while we are making variations on this dangerous cake… why not try adding a tablespoon or two of PEANUT BUTTER to change the flavor, or some CARAMEL, or add different flavored chocolate chips!?

Have funbut just don’t eat this too often (there:  I said it again  – now I can’t be blamed for any weight gain for this easy to make cake!)

Oh yeah – HAPPY 100th POST TO MEin honor of my 100th post, I made myself my own personal chocolate celebration cake!! And I made a 2nd one to treat my man & favorite photographer: Mr. Rich Alborn, NJ Wedding Photo!

what are you waiting for?

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