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Lemon Cream Cake {& a Hamilton Beach Giveaway!}

A very special thank you to my good friends at Hamilton Beach for providing my family with the Stand Mixer and 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Pulse and Snap On Case.  This is just one of the recipes I made and I know there will be many more to come.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Lemon Cream CakeA stand mixer has been on my wish list for…well…pretty much forever.  So when Hamilton Beach sent me an email saying they were sending me one, I was pretty much over the moon.  With the same mixing action as KitchenAid® stand mixers and a powerful 300 Watt motor, the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer is perfect for people like me who love to bake and want to make their baking process a little easier.  The 3 attachments (dough hook, whisk, and flat beater) on the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer offer maximum hands free mixing versatility, while the nonslip feet and splatter shield make sure that I don’t make a mess of my kitchen.  And with 7 speeds, there’s no end to what you can make.Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer

I had so many plans for my mixer when it arrived in early December.  So many.  Plans to cook, plans to bake, plans to make all those recipes I’d put off because I didn’t have a stand mixer.  And then the craziness of the holidays arrived.  Needless to say, I didn’t get to those plans and the stand mixer sat on my countertop.

Until about a week ago a friend of mine asked me if I made the Lemon Cream Cake recipe she gave me earlier in the year.  It happened to be one of the recipes I’d put off during the holiday season.  It also happened to be one of the recipes I’d avoided because I didn’t have a stand mixer.  With the holidays over and a little extra time in my schedule, I decided that it was time to break in that new Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer and the 6 Speed Hand Mixer with Snap On Case that I received over the holidays.  Because as delicious as the Lemon Cream Cake recipe sounded, it was definitely going to require some mixing.

The thing that surprised me about this recipe was how easily it came together.  Yes, there are several steps to this recipe, and yes, there are quite a few ingredients, but with my Hamilton Beach mixers, I was able to have everything whipped up in no time.  And when I was done, I was able to put the metal mixing bowl on the stand mixer right in the dishwasher and store the attachments of the 6 Speed Mixer right in the snap on case it came with.

And the cake?  Every bit as delicious as my friend said it was going to be.  Every. Single. Bit.  It’s cool and light, while still having a dense, rich creamy center.  But it’s the lemon flavored crumb topping that really makes this cake.  Don’t be scared off by the number of steps or ingredients in this recipe – this is a must try!  Here’s how you can make it, and maybe win some Hamilton Beach goodies for yourself…Hamilton Beach Lemon Cream Cake Slice

You will need:
1 pkg White cake mix, plus ingredients required on the box
1/2 cup Sour cream
1 tsp Vanilla extract
3 Tbsp Lemon juice (not from concentrate)
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
8 oz Mascarpone cheese
1 cup Powdered Sugar
4 Tbsp Butter, melted
1 cup Lemon cake mix

Step 1 – Preheat oven as directed on the box of white cake mix and grease the bottom and sides of 2 9-inch pans (or one 10-inch spring pan).  Prepare white cake according to the directions on the box and add sour cream and vanilla.  Beat on low speed for 30 seconds and then medium-high for 2 minutes.  Pour batter into the greased pans and bake for 26-30 minutes.Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer Beaters

Step 2 – To make the lemon cream filling, place the mascapone cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and heavy whipping cream in the bowl of the stand mixer.  Using the whisk attachment, beat until smooth and creamy.  For me, this took about 2-3 minutes on “6” on my Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer.Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer In Process

Step 3 – Once cake is cooled completely, cut the top of one of the 9-inch cakes (or cut the 10-inch cake in half, through the middle), so you have a flat surface.  Generously spoon the lemon filling on top of the cake and spread until smooth and even with a spatula.  Place the second layer on top of the cake and lightly frost the outside with the left over filling.

Step 4 – Combined the lemon cake mix and melted butter until crumbly.  You can do this using the hand mixer on low speed or by hand, but I highly recommend the hand mixer.  It makes this part so much easier. Sprinkle on the top and sides of the cake, pressing gently against the cake.Hamilton Beach Lemon Cream Cake Instructions

Slice and enjoy!

Now for the fun part!  I’m giving one lucky reader the opportunity to win both of these amazing mixers from Hamilton Beach…Yes, BOTH mixers!  Hamilton Beach Prize CollageThat’s the Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer valued at $109.99 and the 6 Speed Hand Mixer valued at $34.99 to one lucky reader.  Enter using the rafflecopter form below and it could be yours!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now that you’ve entered my giveaway, be sure to hop around to win some more great prizes!

Baby It's Cold Outside Hop Event LeahSay's Views Planet Weidknecht January copy

Welcome to the Baby It’s Cold Outside Giveaway Hop Event, hosted by LeahSay’s Views and Planet Weidknecht!  With winter upon us, the days are getting colder, which should leave plenty of time to enter to win some great prizes.  But hurry because this giveaway hop only lasts until January 31st!

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Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars {Recipe}

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake BarsNormally when I make recipes, I make them with someone else in mind – my husband, my kids, my co-workers, friends, etc.  Very rarely do I make something that’s just for me.   And for that reason, I don’t make a lot of mint recipes.  My husband is not a fan, my kids tend to avoid it, and my co-workers would prefer to pass.  But me?  Well I love mint.  In fact, if you ask me, Chocolate + Mint = Sheer Perfection.  Mint Chocolate Chip is my absolute favorite ice cream flavor and a Thin Mint cookie can turn my day from bad to good.  And I’m pretty much in love with those Mint Oreos I posted about late last year.  Yum.

But every now and again I find a mint recipe that looks so good that I just have to try it…even if I’m the only one who is going to eat it.  Because it just looks that good.  And I was pretty sure that I’d found that exact recipe in a mouthwatering mint cheesecake recipe on Pinterest earlier this week.  But in normal fashion, I didn’t pin it, and I wasn’t able to find it when I went back to make it.  Unwilling to give up on the recipe (it looked amazing, there was no way I was going to give up on it), I found another recipe and modified it a bit to include chocolate chips and an Oreo crust.  The result?  Delicious!  And just in time for St. Patrick’s Day – even though they’d be great any time…

Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars - Recipe

Okay, so the portion size on this one is probably a little too big to eat all by myself, but something tells me that I’m going to give it my very best shot before bringing the rest of them over to my friend’s house on Sunday!

You will need:
20 Oreo cookies, with cream removed and finely crushed
3 Tbsp butter, melted
3 packages cream cheese (8 oz. each), softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz.)
3 eggs
1 tsp peppermint extract
1 tsp green food coloring or food gel (approximate)
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp flourMint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Ingredients

Step 1 – Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Step 2 – Combine finely crushed cookies with the melted butter.  Once well combine, press crumb mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9 until it’s thin and even.

Step 3 – Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add sweetened condensed milk, then eggs, and then peppermint beating on medium speed until well combined.

Step 4 – Add food coloring or gel to desired color.  I used approximately 1/4 tsp of green food gel, so you may need more if you’re using the liquid drops.

Step 5 – Coat one half of the chocolate chips in flour (1/2 cup).  I found that the simplest way to do this is to actually drop the teaspoon of flour into the measuring cup your using to hold your 1/2 cup of chips, and then stirring.  Once coated, fold the chips into the cheesecake mixture, stirring until well distributed.

Step 6 – Pour chocolate chip cheesecake mixture into a 13 x 9 pan.  Just before putting into into the oven, top with the remaining chocolate chips (those chips do not need to be coated in flour).

Step 7 – Bake for 1 hour or until you can press down on the cheesecake and it springs back.

Note: Try to avoid over baking this one.  I left mine in for an additional 10 minutes because, although it sprung back when touched, I was concern it wasn’t quite “done”.  Turns out they were done and all I ended up doing was browning the edge pieces, which took away from the pretty green color I was trying to create.  Trust me, once it springs back – take it out of the oven!

Step 8 – Cool at room temperature, then chill for 2-4 hours.Mint Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars Instructions

Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze {Recipe}

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple BreadAbout three years ago, I decided to try a recipe for 2 ingredient pumpkin muffins.  While I’m a lover of just about everything pumpkin, I really tried it to see if it would work more than anything else.  Because 2 ingredients?  Are you kidding?  How could that possibly work?  But sure enough, it did.  In fact, they were delicious…and supposedly a WW approved treat, so not so bad on the waistline either.  As a new blogger at the time, I even decided to write a post about it (you can find it here – please pardon the not so awesome craptastic pictures, I really was a new blogger).

Nearly 3 years later, that post still gets a ton of views, particularly in the fall.  As it saw it come up in my blog statistics last week, I remembered how delicious those muffins were and decided to put them on my fall baking list.  But then I thought, why not do something a little different?  People had emailed me letting me know that they had tried this recipe tons of different ways – they added raisins, nuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, you name it, people tried it.  And although it upped the original ingredient count, they all sounded pretty delish!  So I decided it was my turn to modify it a bit, and add some apples.  And since we’d already done muffins, we’d do bread this time (I’m not going to lie, it also gave me a great reason to go out and buy that cute loaf pan that I’d been eyeing but didn’t want to spend $10 on because I already have a loaf pan).

Because I was adding an ingredient, I worried a bit about this recipe, but it turned out beautifully.  It’s sweet and dense and pumpkin-y with a little touch of apple…it’s everything that a fall treat is supposed to be.  My kids actually asked for it as their dessert after dinner 2 nights in a row!  If you love pumpkin, you’re going to love this recipe!

You will need: (makes 2 loaves)
(2) Spiced flavor boxed cake mixes
(2) Cans pure pumpkin
(1) Can apple pie filling – I used a Comstock 21 oz can

Step 1 – Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Liberally grease the inside of two 9×5 loaf pans.

Step 2 – Pour the apple pie filling into a small dish, and using a knife (preferably serrated), cut the apples into smaller chunks.  If you prefer larger apples, you can skip this step.

Step 3 – Place cake mixes and cans of pumpkin in a large mixing bowl and mix on medium-high speed until well blended (about 4 minutes).  Gently fold in apples.  Pour into 2 9×5 loaf pans.

Step 4 – Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick/knife comes out of the center clean.  I know that’s a long time to wait for bread, but don’t worry, it’s totally worth it!3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread Slice

Now if you’re someone like me, you might think this cake is missing something.  You know, a little finishing touch…like…oh…I don’t know…a glaze?  Yep, you can totally glaze this cake.  And I did!  3 Ingredient Pumpkin Apple Bread with Glaze

To top it off with a delicious glaze you only need 5 more ingredients, for a total of 8, which I still think is pretty good.  This glaze isn’t my recipe (I borrowed it from Martha), but compliments it perfectly.  Why mess with a good thing?

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 oz of cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (I substituted a small amount of lemon juice concentrate for this one)
3 Tbsp milk
Pinch of salt

Step 1 – Place cream cheese in a medium sized mixing bowl and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy.  This took me no more than 1-2 minutes,

Step 2 – Add sugar and beat on medium-high until well combine.  Then one at a time, add the lemon juice, milk, and salt, beating for approximately 30 seconds in between each new ingredient.  After the last ingredient, beat on low speed until smooth.

Step 3 – Drizzle over cake.  If too thick to drizzle add more milk until it’s the desired consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Fall!

Sweet Treats: Blueberry Bundt Cake {Recipe}

Blueberry Bundt CakeWhenever my mom comes to town I go out and buy fresh bagels for breakfast.  It’s kind of a treat for both of us.  My family loves bagels, but often can’t finish a bakers dozen – or even a half dozen – before they go stale…and as much as I always say I’m going to freeze them, life often gets in the way and I forget.  My mom loves bagels, but never buys them for herself.  So each time she comes to visit, I head out that very first morning that she’s here and buy a baker’s dozen and several types of cream cheese, because she loves flavored cream cheese.

But as it turns out, she was sick during her last visit and most of the bagels went uneaten.   That flavored cream cheese?   Totally unused.  As I took an inventory of the fridge a day or two after she left, my eyes landed on the container of blueberry cream cheese I purchased.  It was still sealed, but according to it’s expiration date, it wouldn’t make it until her next visit.  So I decided that it was time to get creative in the kitchen.

And then I thought about the ginormous blueberries that I’ve seen on sale at the grocery store lately.  Seriously, they’re huge – and it’s not even officially blueberry season!  I decided to get to work and make a blueberry bundt cake that would incorporate both the blueberry cream cheese that I already had and those massive grocery store blueberries, modifying a pound cake recipe I found a few months ago when I made my Iced Lemon Pound Cake.  It was made using a cake mix – and you know how much I love cake mix recipes.

The result did not disappoint.  My girls each ate a piece and asked begged for more.  I had a second piece myself (after they went to bed, of course) and I don’t even like blueberries.  But this cake is just perfect.  Dense, moist, sweet perfection.  It’s a must try, blueberry season or not!

Note:  If you can’t find blueberry cream cheese, don’t worry.  Simply use 6 – 8 oz of regular cream cheese and add in an extra 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries.  You can also substitute frozen blueberries if it isn’t blueberry season. 
BlueberryCake1

You will need:
1 white box cake mix (18.25 oz)
1 box vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)
1/4 cup sugar
1 container blueberry cream cheese (6 oz)
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 cup fresh blueberries, or more if you prefer
1 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 Tbsp milk

Step 1 – Grease a 9.5″ fluted pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2 – In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding, and sugar.  Once combined, add the cream cheese, water, vegetable oil, and eggs.  Using a hand or stand mixer, beat for 1 minute on low followed by 4 minutes on high, until smooth and well blended.  The batter will be thick.  Make sure to scrap the sides of the bowl frequently as the cake mix will try to hide towards the bottom of the bowl.

Step 3 – Using a spoon or spatula, carefully fold in the fresh blueberries.

Step 4 – Pour batter into the greased pan and bake for 50 minutes (double check to make sure it’s baked all the way through by using a knife or toothpick).  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Step 5 – Once your cake has cooled, prepare the glaze by combining the confectioner’s sugar and milk.   My glaze turned out a bit thin and seemed to get sucked into the cake.  If you want yours to be thicker (and sit on top of the cake), try adding only 2 tablespoons of milk instead of 3.  If it’s still too thin, add some more confectioner’s sugar to thicken it up.  Once you reach your desired consistency, drizzle over the cake.

TIP:  If you want to add a little extra flavor, consider adding a teaspoon of vanilla or a little lemon juice to your glaze.

Serve with coffee or on it’s own.  Either way it will be delicious!BlueberryBundtCake-1

Sweet Treats: Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes {Recipe}

I love 2nd trimester energy!  I’ve been tackling things on my to-do list lately like it’s nobody’s business – and I’m even posting here more, too!  It’s been delightful and well deserved after an awful 20 weeks.  One of the things on my to-do list from way back around February or March was to make Strawberry Lemon Cupcakes.  Unfortunately, after I went out and bought all the ingredients, my food aversions and nausea prevented me from actually making them.  This week as I was searching through my cupboard for dinner ideas, I saw that I still had the ingredients and decided to give it a whirl.  While the recipe for the cake is my creation (with help of a box mix, of course), I borrowed the strawberry buttercream recipe from here.  It looked quick and easy (which it was), but most importantly it didn’t require pureeing fresh fruit, something I couldn’t do because it seems my food processor blade is, um, missing.  [gulp]  Gotta find that.You will need:

1 box lemon cake mix + ingredients required on the box

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 package lemon pudding mix

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1/2 cup softened butter

1/2 cup strawberry jelly, strained

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line your cupcake pan or coat with nonstick spray.

Step 2 – In a medium mixing bowl, prepare cake mix as directed, then add in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the package of lemon pudding.  Mix well.

Step 3 – Spoon mixture into cupcake tins and bake for 22 minutes.  Typically, I bake things on the lower end of the recommended baking time (for this box mix that was 18-22 minutes); however, in this case, I had to bake it a bit longer due to the pudding and extra juice being added in.  Remove from oven and cool.

As a side note, don’t you wish that cupcakes stayed this way after they’re out of the oven for a few minutes?  Mine always sink a little in the middle.

Step 4 – In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the softened butter on medium speed until fluffy.  Add in strained jelly and mix well using electric mixer.  Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, until you reach your desired consistency.  You can always add 1-2 tablespoons of milk if you want the frosting to be softer, or add confectioner’s sugar to make it stiffer.

Although this is hands down the best strawberry frosting I’ve ever tasted, there’s no denying that it came out a little pale in color.  It’s pink, but very pale pink…and a far cry from the bright pink can variety.  If you want to make it pinker, you could always add a little red food coloring.  I’m sure just a few drops would perk it up a bit.  I would have done this, but I didn’t have any.

Step 5 – Once cupcakes are completely cooled, frost.  I couldn’t find my fancy icing gun when I was making these, so I had to frost these “high school bake sale” style.  Although not as pretty, they were still delicious and the strawberry and lemon tastes complimented each other very well.  So light and refreshing – these cupcakes are perfect for summer!

Enjoy!