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Earthquake Cake

I made this cake for my children at our Mother’s Day dinner (what’s wrong with that picture, huh???).  The cake was a big hit, in spite of the fact that it became a volcano instead of an earthquake.  You have to read below to find out why…

Earthquake Cake

1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix (I used Pillsbury)
3 Eggs
1 1/4 cups Water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Coconut
1 cup Pecans, chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter or Margarine, softened
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 to 1 cup Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 inch cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Sprinkle coconut, then pecans, evenly over the bottom of the cake pan and set aside.

Mix together the cake mix, eggs, water and oil in a mixing bowl. Beat for about 2 minutes with electric mixer. Pour over coconut and pecans in pan.

In small mixing bowl, beat together the butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the cake batter. Don’t try to spread it out; just put it on in dollops.

Bake cake for about 45 to 50 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a knife or toothpick into the chocolate cake. The toothpick should come out clean.

When done, remove cake from oven and immediately sprinkle on the chocolate chips. Allow cake to cool in the pan.

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Okay, now for my story….

This was a new recipe I had found on the internet, so didn’t know exactly what to expect. I changed the ingredients very slightly . . . the original recipe called for a German Cake Mix, but I used Devil’s Food Cake Mix (because that’s my favorite). I also added the chocolate chips.

I also attempted to spread out the cream cheese mixture on top of the cake, and that was probably my downfall. A few minutes in the oven, and the cake started to raise up. All of a sudden, my daughter exclaimed that the cake was boiling over! I immediately got a sheet of aluminum foil and placed it on the rack beneath the cake to catch the overflow. I looked at my daughter and explained that we had a volcano cake instead of an earthquake!

It was mostly the white part that spilled over, and actually, that part that cooked on the side of the pan was Awesome! Just after removing the cake from the oven when it was done, I scraped off the part that flowed over the edge, and tasted it . . . it was just like chewey, ooey, gooey, warm caramel! Oh yum!

I sprinkled the chocolate chips on the top of the cake and allowed the cake to cool in the pan. It cut very nicely, and there was that coconut/pecan layer on the bottom part. The chocolate part of the cake was so moist, yet held up very well.

When I saw the cake spill over, my first thought was that I would never make this again. But after watching my family devour it, I’ve decided this just might be a tradition recipe. My husband said it was the best cake he had ever eaten.

I really think the secret to keeping it from spilling over is that you have to drop the cream cheese mixture in dollops randomly on top, and not attempt to spread it out. Let me know how it works for you.

Now, I’d better get started on cleaning the oven. Thank goodness for self-cleaning ovens!

Cheeseburger Bites

1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 pound lean ground beef
2 tablespoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
6 slices bread
24 cubes Cheddar cheese (1/2-inch cubes)

In a bowl, combine egg yolk, ground beef, onion, salt and pepper. Shape mixture by teaspoonfuls into 24 balls. Remove crusts from bread; roll flat and cut into 1-1/2-in. rounds. Place meatballs on bread rounds; make a depression in each ball and fill with a cube of cheese, making sure bread is covered with meat mixture. Place on a baking sheet. Broil in preheated oven about 6 in. from heat for 3-5 minutes or until no pink remains. Garnish with ketchup, mustard, sliced green onions or sliced dill pickles if desired. Yield: 2 dozen.

Grilled Cheese Burgers

1 egg
1/2 cup quick oats
1/3 cup finely diced onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup tbsp shredded Cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
4 hamburger buns
2 large tomatoes, sliced
1 avocado, sliced

In a large bowl, beat the egg. Add the next six ingredients and blend well with your hands. Form four patties. Place them on a grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or to your desired level of doneness.

Place the burgers on buns and top with tomato and avocado slices.

Peach Bread Pudding

9 leftover dinner rolls
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
21 ounce can peach pie filling

Cut rolls into 1/2 inch cubes. Place cubes in a sprayed 8-inch square baking pan.

In a bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, almond extract and 1 cup peach pie filling. Mix well. Pour over roll cubes. Press down with a spoon to make sure all of the roll cubes are covered with egg mixture; let soak for 30 minutes. Bake at 350°F 30-40 minutes.

Heat remaining pie filling and serve over warm pudding.

Coconut French Toast

12 eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
14 slices bread
1 package (7 ounces) flaked coconut
Maple syrup

In a large bowl, beat eggs; add milk, sugar and cinnamon. Dip bread in egg mixture until both sides are coated. Coat both sides with coconut. Place on greased baking sheets.

Bake at 475° for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with syrup. Yield: 7 servings.

Berry French Toast Casserole

1 loaf (1 pound) French bread, cubed
6 egg whites
3 eggs
1-3/4 cups low-fat milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (12 ounces) frozen unsweetened mixed berries
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar

Place bread cubes in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt; pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Thirty minutes before baking, remove the berries from the freezer and set aside, and remove the baking dish from the refrigerator. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, cut butter into brown sugar until crumbly. Sprinkle berries and brown sugar mixture over French toast. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Yield: 8 servings.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Bars

1 package (18-1/4 ounces) Devil’s Food cake mix
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg

FILLING:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, oil and egg. Set aside 1 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until set.

For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg; beat well. Spread over crust. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and reserved crumb mixture.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 2 dozen.

Luscious Orange-filled Cake

1 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3 cups cake flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk

FILLING:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons water
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/8 teaspoon salt

SYRUP:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon orange extract

FROSTING:
1 cup butter, softened
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in orange juice and peel. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.

Transfer to two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For filling, in a small saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in orange juice and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from the heat.

Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; gently stir in the lemon juice, orange peel and salt. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

For syrup, in a small saucepan, bring the sugar, water and orange juice to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat; stir in extract. Cool.

For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients; beat until smooth.

Cut each cake horizontally into two layers. Place bottom layer on a serving plate; brush with 2 tablespoons syrup and spread with 1/3 cup filling. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer; brush with remaining syrup. Frost top and sides of cake. Yield: 16 servings.

Intense Chocolate Cake

2-1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter, cubed
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

FILLING:
6 tablespoons butter, cubed
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

GANACHE:
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

In a large saucepan, cook the milk, butter and chocolate over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat; let stand for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and vanilla; stir in chocolate mixture until smooth. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into the mixture (batter will be thin). Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For filling, in a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and cream until smooth.

For ganache, place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache reaches a spreading consistency.

Set aside 1/2 cup filling for garnish. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half of the remaining filling. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread ganache over top and sides of cake. Decorate with reserved filling. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 16 servings.

Banana Nut Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 medium)
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
3 Tbsp. milk
2 eggs
1 cup coarsley chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two loaf pans by spraying them with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add mashed bananas, margaine or butter, and milk. Beat with an electric mixer on low setting until blended, then beat on high for 2 minutes. Add eggs and remaining 1 cup of flour, and beat until well blended. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour equal amounts of batter into the two loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.

To make these up to one month ahead, simply bake the loaves and cool completely. Place each loaf in a freezer bag and freeze up to one month. Thaw for 1 hour at room temperature before slicing.