German Plum Cake

Lately, we’ve had lots of fruit at my house. This is great, since I adore fruit, but because I love fruit so much (and probably because college conditioned me to make the most of any.food.you.have), it’s extra painful to me when it seems like it’s about to go to waste. It happens to all of us though: For whatever reason, you have an excess of food, and before you can enjoy it all, it goes bad. This was the recent situation at my house with plums, and the end was near for them if we didn’t act fast. And what better way to use up spare fruit than by making a cake with it? 😉

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And that’s how we got to this: German Plum Cake. I hadn’t made a cake like this before (actually, most of my cake-making experiences are limited to Funfetti mixes during my teenage years), so I was a bit cautious as I went through the process. It actually turned out to be super easy though, and the results were pretty darn tasty!

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If you’ve been reading this here blog for a while now (or have checked out my About page), you’ll probably recall my mentioning that I spent a semester in Berlin. Now, I don’t claim to be a German baking expert, nor am I verifying the authenticity of this recipe, but I will say that this cake is quite reminiscent of the cakes my host mom used to make for me in Berlin. A lot of them were fruit-based, not very moist and a bit crumbly. They were very different in contrast to the cakes I was used to eating, with their rich frosting and moist batter, but I definitely grew to love them.

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Therefore, I was particularly pleased when this cake turned out so well. I highly recommend serving this with some homemade whipped cream – it really adds the perfect finishing touch. But be careful because if you’re like me, you’ll have to force yourself to stop eating the whipped cream out of the mixing bowl and get back to the cake! Now that I think about it though, I suppose worse things have happened. 😉

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German Plum Cake

Recipe from Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 pinch salt (only if you use unsalted butter)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon, rind of
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups plums, pitted and sliced into thin wedges

For the topping

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, cream the butter, add the sugar, vanilla, egg, lemon peel, sour cream and salt (if desired).
  • Mix the flour and baking powder and add that into the mixture.
  • Grease the base of a round baking pan and spread the dough over the pan.
  • Liberally spread plums over the dough.
  • To make the optional topping, cream the butter, add flour, sugar and cinnamon.
  • Sprinkle over the plums and bake for 30-45 minutes in the middle rack at 375 F.
  • Be careful not to let the bottom burn!
  • Serve with lots of freshly-made whipped cream.
  • If you like, you may also sprinkle rum or cinnamon over the fruit before baking.
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S’more of the Week: Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

The time has come, my friends. This is going to be the last segment of S’more of the Week. Will it be the last s’more concoction I ever have? Surely not. But this segment has definitely served its purpose, and I think it’s time we put aside the s’mores for now and continue on to another segment…but first, of course, we have to check out these cupcakes!

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I thought for a while about what I wanted my last s’more post to be, and I knew I wanted it to be something special. I decided on these Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes from Martha Stewart since they looked amazing, had excellent reviews and featured toasted marshmallow frosting. I was super excited to use a handy dandy torch in the kitchen until I made the cupcakes and realized something: I decided to use a different marshmallow frosting recipe, and the recipe I used was neither torch nor broiler friendly. I’ve never tried to toast anything I’ve made in the kitchen before (except for, of course…toast <- bad joke), so I didn’t realize that, oh wait a second, Martha Stewart probably picked this particular frosting recipe for a reason because, oh wait another second, she knows what she’s doing.

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Oh well – lesson learned! For anyone who is curious, I chose a different frosting recipe because I didn’t feel like dealing with placing a bowl “over a saucepan with simmering water.” Call me what you want (which in this case is probably lazy :P), but that’s why. But even though I couldn’t toast the frosting, I still don’t regret my choice! The frosting was super yummy, and the cupcakes were a total hit! I think they were definitely a good selection for my final S’more of the Week post. From top to bottom you have the marshmallow frosting, chocolate cupcake batter, chopped pieces of bittersweet chocolate and graham cracker crust. If that doesn’t scream “s’more,” I don’t know what does.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and looking at these s’more posts as much as I have enjoyed making (and eating!) each recipe. I am super excited though to introduce the new weekly segment, so check back next week to find out what it is! And let me know: what is your favorite s’more recipe?

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Chocolate Graham Cracker Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

I halved both the cupcake and the frosting recipes, since I didn’t feel like making 24 cupcakes. I’ve included the original recipes and amounts below. I made 12 regular sized cupcakes, although I probably had enough batter to make 6-8 more (I used the rest of the batter to make a little more than a dozen mini muffins), and I had more than enough frosting for the 12 cupcakes after halving that recipe as well.

Cupcake recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (not Dutch-processed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 20 squares)
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I just chopped up bittersweet chocolate chips)
  • Marshmallow Frosting (If you want to toast the frosting, I suggest using Martha Stewart’s recipe or finding another recipe that is kitchen torch/broiler friendly. If you aren’t interested in toasting the frosting, keep scrolling for the recipe I used!)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 standard muffin tins with cupcake liners; set aside.
  • Sift 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed.
  • In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl and continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add boiling water and stir to combine; set cake batter aside.
  • Place graham cracker crumbs, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter in a large bowl; stir until well combined. (I accidentally used far less butter than I was supposed to, and the graham cracker crust came out fine, so if for any reason you feel like using less butter or you accidentally use less, no worries. It may not hold together quite as tightly, but everything will come out fine.)
  • Place 1 tablespoon graham cracker mixture into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Reserve remaining graham cracker mixture for topping.
  • Place 2 teaspoons chocolate in each muffin cup. Transfer muffin tins to oven and bake until the edges of the graham cracker mixture is golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and fill each muffin cup three-quarters full with cake batter. Sprinkle each with remaining chocolate and graham cracker mixture. (I would be careful not to put *too* much graham cracker mixture on top. In reviews that I read, some people said adding too much made the cupcakes sink as they baked in the oven.). Return to oven and bake, rotating pans halfway through baking, until tops are firm and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffin tins to a wire rack and let cupcakes cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and let cool completely.
  • Transfer frosting to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain round or French Tip (such as Ateco #867 or Ateco #809). Pipe frosting in a spiral motion on each cupcake. Transfer cupcakes to a baking sheet. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the frosting, taking care not to burn the cupcake liners. (I ignored those directions since I used a different frosting recipe, but I wanted to include them for anybody interested in using the Martha Stewart frosting recipe.) Serve immediately or store in an airtight container, up to 2 days.

Frosting recipe from Food.com

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups margarine, softened
  • 2 cups marshmallow cream (7 oz tub)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

Instructions

  • Blend margarine and marshmallow creme together till smooth.
  • Add liquids and mix well.
  • Blend in powdered sugar and beat till smooth and creamy.
  • If thinner frosting is desired, simply add more milk.

This Week’s Top 4

Hello, everybody! Hope you had an awesome weekend – mine was quite relaxing 🙂 Now let’s start off the week with a few interesting links!

1. I am totally loving the two-toned frosting on these Banana Chocolate Swirl Cupcakes – definitely adds a bit of glam!

2. For some reason, I’m fascinated with interesting takes on caprese this summer. You may recall that I shared a list from Buzzfeed a few weeks ago with almost 40 caprese dishes, and I came across another one that I think is great: Caprese Mac and Cheese!

3. I’m definitely a coffee drinker, but I usually keep it simple with a regular cup of plain, hot coffee. When I do decide I want to try a fancier beverage, I usually just pick something without understanding entirely what it is (machiatto? cappuccino? Who knows…). I figured it was about time to learn the differences between coffee beverages, and this guide from The Kitchn is definitely helpful!

4. I’m really trying to embrace the end of summer, but I just can’t stop thinking about fall! I would love to try making something like this “decorative leaf pie crust” soon.

My Family’s Cookbook: Monkey Bread

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’re able to have breakfast that tastes like dessert. In the case of something like my favorite Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon and Brie (I will stop talking about them eventually. I promise.), it’s because of the natural, healthy sweetness of fruit. But in the case of this week’s recipe, it’s because of good ol’ fashioned sugar, butter and all that other stuff that I’m not sure would be considered part of a balanced breakfast. 😉

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But that’s okay. A little indulging here and there isn’t so bad, and if you’re going to have an indulging breakfast, this Monkey Bread may be just the thing you need. I first had Monkey Bread a few years ago, and I thought that I was the last one to find out about it. Recently, however, I’ve come across some people who hadn’t heard of it, so if there are any other Monkey Bread novices out there, I’ll give you some background info on this delicious treat.

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It was explained to me that Monkey Bread got its name because of the way you eat it. Bits of biscuits are cooked together to create the entire bread, which makes it easy for breakfast go-ers to pull apart or pick off pieces to eat, similar to the way monkeys pick things. I know – kind of gross. But I swear you’ll forget about that after trying this for yourself. The pieces are so soft and sweet, and when you get it fresh out of the oven – mm! It’s the best.

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{Don’t mind the bits of yellow. I may have eaten eggs right before taking this picture.}

This can get a bit messy, so for all those who would like to avoid that, I have a tip that my family just discovered: tongs! Instead of picking the Monkey Bread apart with your hands (the most fun way) or attempting to cut a piece with a knife (perhaps the least successful way), use tongs to serve yourself. It’s easy to get a good-sized portion at once, and it doesn’t leave a mess! Tell me: do you have any sneaky food tricks?

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Monkey Bread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 cans Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts, if desired
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 Cup butter, melted

Instructions

  • Heat oven to 350° F.
  • Lightly grease 12-cup fluted tub pan.
  • In large plastic food-storage bag, mix sugar and cinnamon.
  • Separate dough into 16 biscuits (there are 8 in each can); cut each into quarters.
  • Shake biscuits in bag to coat.
  • Arrange biscuits in pan, adding walnuts among the biscuit pieces.
  • Mix brown sugar and butter; pour over biscuit pieces.
  • Bake 28 to 32 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center.
  • Cool in pan 10 minutes.
  • Turn upside down onto serving plate; pull apart to eat. Serve warm and enjoy!

S’more of the Week: S’mores Fudge

After making so many s’more recipes, sometimes it’s hard to believe that people have thought of even more ways to make graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate into a delicious concoction. Thankfully though, they have, and some brilliant person thought to combine the flavors into decadent fudge. I’ve been a fan of fudge for quite some time, but it usually only makes an appearance around the holidays. My aunt makes it every year, so I’ve never needed to make it myself. I decided though that it was time for me to give it a go, and I couldn’t believe that making fudge could be so easy!

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I know there are more complicated ways to make fudge using candy thermometers and whatnot, but that’s just too much for me. This recipe, on the other hand, couldn’t be any easier. All you need are the below four ingredients (graham crackers, chocolate chips, condensed milk and mini marshmallows), and after melting the chocolate chips and condensed milk together, you just combine the rest of the ingredients, pour them in a pan and refrigerate. Simple, right? I was surprised when I tasted the fudge that it could be so easy to make something so creamy and rich tasting. I think my aunt might have a run for her money with this stuff. 😉

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And now folks, it’s time for another announcement. After making different s’more creations for about 2 months, I’ve decided that it’s almost time for “S’more of the Week” to reach its conclusion. I know that summer continues into September, but as August comes to an end, I feel like it’s a good time to put the summer s’mores to rest. I’ll post one final s’more recipe next week, and then we’ll move on to the new segment! I already know what it’s going to be, but I’m going to keep it a secret until the big reveal in a few weeks! I think it’ll be a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it. But for now, let’s bring out attention back to this S’mores Fudge. Check out the recipe below, and I hope you give it a whirl!

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S’mores Fudge

Recipe adapted from Mandy’s Recipe Box

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (mine was 14 oz.)
  • 3 graham crackers
  • 1 Cup mini marshmallows

Instructions

  • Melt chocolate and milk together over medium low heat or in a microwavable bowl in the microwave. (I placed a bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds, stirred everything, and heated it again for another 30 seconds, and then it was done.)
  • Break crackers into small pieces and stir into chocolate.
  • Add marshmallows and stir together.
  • Spoon into a greased or buttered dish. Either a 9×9 or 8×8-inch dish works well. (I used an 8×8).
  • Refrigerate fudge for 1 hour or until solid.
  • Cut into squares and enjoy! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

S’more of the Week: Chocolate Fudge S’mores Mug Cake

Oh, the magical mug cake. I’m definitely a fan, although I’ve only made a few of them before. This week though, I decided I was in need of a mug cake, mostly because there are just so many desserts around the house right now that I really can’t afford to make a recipe that would yield at least 12 of something (ie: cookies, brownies, etc). And I don’t mean my wallet can’t afford it; I mean my waistline. 😉 I’m specifically putting the blame on those chocolate chip pudding cookies from the other day. I’ve had to start giving them away because it’s too easy to inhale a few before I realize what I’ve done! I even thought about putting Nutella on a cookie and then eating it…I didn’t, but I could have.

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Therefore, a single serving mug cake seemed like the perfect choice for this week’s s’more recipe. I’m always a little hesitant with mug cakes because everybody’s microwave is different, and it’s a bummer when you end up with an overcooked cake. To my pleasure though, this one came out perfectly! It was cooked through but still had some gooey patches, which is just how I like my mug cakes. And if you check out the comments section under the recipe on How Sweet It Is, you can find a bunch of variations people have done so you can make this just the way you want it.

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I’m definitely pleased with how mine came out though. And I have to say, I actually forgot that this was called the “Chocolate Fudge S’mores Mug Cake,” and after having a few bites I thought to myself, “Wow, this tastes so fudge-y!” So does this mug cake live up to its name? Why yes, I believe it does.

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Chocolate Fudge S’mores Mug Cake

Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

  • 2-3 Tbs graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsp milk chocolate (chopped or morsels)
  • marshmallows or marshmallow fluff/cream

Instructions

  • Combine 3 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp chocolate in a small bowl. Melt in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, combine remaining melted butter with 2-3 Tbsp (I used 2) of graham cracker crumbs and stir until moistened. Press graham cracker crumbs into bottom of mug.
  • In a bowl, whisk egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa and stir until a thick batter forms.
  • Gradually add melted butter and chocolate, mixing to combine. Then fold in remaining chocolate.
  • Pour half the batter into the mug. Add some marshmallows or a scoop of marshmallow fluff/cream.
  • Pour remaining batter into mug and place in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on the strength of your microwave. (I put mine in for 1 minute and 20 seconds, knowing that I would put it back into the microwave for a little while to melt the marshmallows I would add on top).
  • Top with additional marshmallows if you would like, and then put the mug back into the microwave to melt the marshmallows a bit. (I put mine in for an additional 20 seconds. Be careful though, since you don’t want to put the mug back in for too long and overcook the cake). You can also place the mug directly under the broiler for about 10 seconds so that the marshmallows become toasted.
  • If you would like, feel free to add some more graham cracker crumbs to the top and enjoy!

This Week’s Top 4

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope your weekends have been marvelous so far and that you get to enjoy a nice, relaxing Sunday. Last week’s Top 4 was slightly lengthier than usual, since I announced my soon-to-happen move to Massachusetts. I have nothing to announce this week though, so let’s get to the links!

1. Sadly, I don’t have a waffle iron. Maybe that’s why I’m so fascinated by this list of 23 Things You Can Cook In A Waffle Iron from Listotic. Oh, the possibilities! Number 9 kind of freaks me out though.

2. I’ve had caprese on my mind lately, so I was very pleased when I came across this 37 Delicious Ways To Eat Caprese list from Buzzfeed. I think the best part of this may be the “quote” under #37. Too funny!

3. In my opinion, everything is better when it’s made in a jar, so I’m really into this Banana Bread in a Jar tutorial from Intimate Weddings. The author made them as wedding favors, but I think they’d be a fun idea for any gift-giving occasion!

4. And finally, I love this DIY idea for using a painted drawer as a shelf. So cute!