Turtle Ice Cream Cake

Turtle Ice Cream Cake

I love ice cream!  Who doesn’t?!  I love ice cream cake, but again, who doesn’t?!  Do you want to know what I don’t love?  The price of a pre-made ice cream cake.  It’s just a little ridiculous and completely prevents me from actually buying them.  There’s a totally obvious and very easy solution though: make your own!Turtle Ice Cream CakeTurtle Ice Cream Cake

This Turtle Ice Cream Cake was so delicious!  Fudge and caramel oozed out of every bite and the hard chocolate on top was quite literally the icing on the cake!  I intented to use actual Turtles (the candies…just in case), but could not find them at my grocery store.  I opted for Dove caramel filled dark chocolates plus chopped pecans instead.  I had no complaints!Turtle Ice Cream CakeTurtle Ice Cream Cake

I so loved the thick chocolate layer on top, but it made it a little difficult to cut into.  I used a very tricky technique where I took a chef knife and hacked at the cake until it sort of cracked on its own, then followed the natural break lines with my knife for a nice clean cut.  To avoid having to use said technique, simply drizzle the chocolate over the top instead of spreading a nice thick layer.  You could also use magic shell chocolate or make your own magic shell and it will be a little thinner.Turtle Ice Cream CakeTurtle Ice Cream Cake

Okay, so this was my first time making ice cream cake, right?  Trial and error.  It actually went very well, but next time, I must remember not to use slow churned ice cream.  It might seem obvious because it’s softer and melts much faster, but it didn’t even occur to me when I was at the store.  I was thinking, “what is the best tasting ice cream I can buy to make this cake super delicious…ooh yes! slow churned!”  Oh well!  It tasted amazing and that’s all that matters, right?  Right!Turtle Ice Cream Cake

Turtle Ice Cream Cake

Yield: 10 servings


  • 1.5 qt vanilla ice cream
  • 1.5 qt chocolate ice cream
  • 1 10-15 oz. jar of fudge ice cream topping
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 12 Dove caramel filled dark chocolate candies, roughly chopped
  • 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 4 Tbsp butter


  1. Let vanilla ice cream soften.
  2. Line your dish with plastic wrap for easy removal. I used a 2 1/2 quart round casserole dish.
  3. Spoon vanilla ice cream into dish and level with a spatula. Cover and let it freeze until firm.
  4. Spoon half of the fudge topping onto the vanilla ice cream layer and spread evenly. Top with chopped pecans and Dove candies and drizzle caramel over the top, reserving a couple tablespoons of both the caramel and pecans to garnish the final product. Spoon remaining fudge topping on top and spread evenly. Cover and place back in freezer until firm. Meanwhile, let chocolate ice cream soften.
  5. Spoon the chocolate ice cream over the fudge layer and level with a spatula. Return to freezer for a couple hours to let the whole thing freeze completely.
  6. Melt butter and chocolate chips together by the method of your choice and let cool until it is just about room temperature.
  7. Remove ice cream cake from the freezer and invert onto cake plate. Gently pull the plastic wrap away from the cake.
  8. Drizzle the cake with melted chocolate, or cover it entirely (or both) and caramel. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pecans over the top. Serve immediately, or place back in the freezer until ready to serve.

Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake This strawberry pistachio cake is simply phenomenal.  I absolutely love the simple, rustic look, with just a dusting of powdered sugar.  It doesn’t just look great though, this cake tastes divine!  The delicate pistachio flavor combined with fresh strawberries and crunchy pistachios will make anyone’s mouth water.  Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

I had a package of pistachio pudding in the pantry begging to be used.  I was planning on making these salted pistachio pudding cookies, but when I saw that strawberries were buy one get one, it was decided for me.  I can’t resist a good sale and I didn’t want to risk the strawberries going bad.  That would have been a shame, so the cookies will have to wait until next time!  I started with the recipe for my delicious pistachio loaf, added strawberries and baked it in two 9-inch rounds. Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Now, my pistachio loaf is really good…we’re talking REALLY good.  It is always a crowd-pleaser and I often am asked for the recipe.  Everyone loves it, but the fresh strawberries really brought it to the next level.  I was drooling just smelling this cake bake and then I took the first bite, full of tender and moist strawberries.  I was ooh-ing and ahh-ing like it was the fourth of July.Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

The cake rose a bit more than I had expected, so my strawberries got a little enveloped by the cake.  If you plan to make this lovely cake, I recommend only gently placing the strawberries on top.  You could also try baking it for ten minutes or so, quickly adding the strawberries, and continuing to bake.  You could even leave the halved strawberries out completely and just sprinkle the cake with more chopped pistachios.Rustic Strawberry Pistachio CakeRustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Rustic Strawberry Pistachio Cake

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 servings


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz. box instant pistachio pudding
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 7 strawberries, sliced in half


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Whisk together cake and pudding mixes. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended.
  3. Fold in nuts and chopped strawberries.
  4. Pour batter into cake pans. It will be thick and you may need to spread it with a spatula. Gently place halved strawberries on top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.


Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes

Mini Grasshopper CheesecakesI’ve had mini grasshopper cheesecakes on my mind since I made Oreo cupcakes with an Oreo baked into the center.  I knew I wanted to do something similar with Thin Mints/ Grasshopper cookies but wasn’t sure exactly what.  Then I remembered how much I love cheesecake…the rest was history. Mini Grasshopper CheesecakesAs soon as I started thinking about cheesecake, I remembered a recipe I used years, and I mean YEARS ago, from my parents’ magic bullet manual.  It was surprisingly amazing and I wanted to try it again.  I found the very simple cheesecake recipe on the bullet website, and even though I actually have a magic bullet, I used a mixer and bowl to prepare it.  I added mini chocolate chips, mint extract, and green food coloring to the cheesecake batter.  I finished these beauties off with a generous dollop of chocolate ganache and Andes candies for garnish.  It was absolutely perfect!Mini Grasshopper CheesecakesMint and chocolate go so well together!  It is definitely one of my favorite flavor combination, right up there with salt and caramel.  I absolutely love mint chocolate chip ice cream, Thin Mints, peppermint bark, and I order nothing but peppermint white mochas as soon as they’re available at Starbucks in fall!Mini Grasshopper CheesecakesThese cheesecakes had a great mint flavor and soft texture.  After I took them out of the oven, the center seemed a little darker in color and I was nervous they hadn’t baked completely.  As they cooled, they looked better and once the ganache was on, I tried one and they tasted heavenly!  Yes, I was successful in waiting until the end to dig in for once!  I used paper cupcake liners that are just a tad bit smaller than normal, and the cookie was the perfect size for a crust!Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes

Mini Grasshopper Cheesecakes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 30 mini cheesecakes

1 mini cheesecake


  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • green food coloring
  • 30 grasshopper cookies
  • Andes candies for garnish
  • Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup cream/milk/half and half


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with paper liners and place a grasshopper cookie at the bottom of each.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each. Add peppermint extract and food coloring and mix until evenly distributed. Fold in mini chocolate chips.
  3. Fill paper liners 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheesecake is set in the center. The edges may brown slightly. Let them cool to room temperature.
  4. For the Chocolate Ganache
  5. Microwave cream and chocolate chips in microwave safe container at 50% power for 30 seconds. Stir and continue to microwave in intervals of 15-30 until almost completely melted, then continue to stir until smooth. Let cool for 5-10 minutes, until it is just about room temperature.
  6. Pour ganache over cooled cheesecakes and let set. Garnish with Andes candies just before the ganache is almost sett. If the ganache is not firm enough, the candies may fall over or move.

Strawberries and Cream Blondies

Strawberries and Cream BlondiesYesterday was not my day.  The first line of this post would have read something cheesy like, “Welcome spring into your home with a pan of delicious strawberries and cream blondies!”  But wouldn’t you know that as I was wrapping the top of my pan in plastic wrap, it slipped from my fingers and I managed to catch it against the cabinet doors with my knees.  It probably would have looked better if I had let it hit the floor.  The gorgeous cheesecake and strawberry swirl was all mushed against the plastic wrap, and as you can imagine, that doesn’t lend to taking beautiful photographs.  I made the best of it by scraping  the smushed mess off the plastic wrap with a butter knife and licking it clean.  It was delicious!  I used some fresh whipped cream to disguise the messiness and who knows, maybe it was my day, afterall!  Anyway…

Strawberries and Cream BlondiesStrawberries and Cream Blondies

Welcome spring into your home with a pan of delicious strawberries and cream blondies!  Seriously, you had better hurry because spring is almost here!  I can tell by the puddles I’ve been jumping over as I walk to my car in the morning.  This morning, the water was actually deeper than the toe of my rain boot.  Spring is all about fun colors, dresses, and fresh fruity flavors.  Last week I even changed all of the scented candles and plugins from my warm winter vanilla scent to a lively citrus – Folks, I am ready!Strawberries and Cream Blondies

This dessert begins as a pan pf strawberry blondies made from a cake mix – simple and delicious.  Throw in in a light cream cheese layer…now we’re talking.  Add a fresh strawberry jam swirl and violà – we have reached perfection!  To be honest, I did not know how it was going to turn out.  I kind of made it up as I went along, adding some of this and that to adjust the batter to be the consistency I thought it should be.  My swirls weren’t the prettiest thing before I put it in the oven, and I was nervous that it would do something weird as it cooked and end up just looking really gross.  It looked great, you know, prior to the aforementioned dropping incident.  I actually think they still look pretty darn tasty with a dollop of whipped cream and a fresh strawberry on top.  They taste even better than they look!

Strawberries and Cream Blondies

The blondie layer is rich and has the texture of a dense cake or a cakey brownie.  The addition of 1/4 cup of homemade strawberry jam to the batter really transformed it to a more natural strawberry taste, as opposed to the strawberry flavoring taste that the cake mix has naturally; it added some lovely color as well.  There isn’t much I can say about the cheesecake layer; it was divine, as all cheesecake is.  The fresh strawberry jam swirled with the cheesecake layer was absolutely heavenly!  All in all, perfect strawberries and cream blondies!  Why yes, I will have a second piece.Strawberries and Cream Blondies

Strawberries and Cream Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 9x9 pan


    Strawberry Jam:
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2-4 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Cheesecake Layer:
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • Strawberry Blondies:
  • 1 package strawberry cake mix
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/4 cup of prepared strawberry jam
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream or milk


    Prepare the Strawberry Jam:
  1. Puree half of the strawberries using a blender or food processor. Add pureed strawberries and remaining sliced strawberries to a large frying pan. Add 2 Tbsp sugar and lemon juice. If you choose not to puree the strawberries, you should add a couple Tbsp water.
  2. Heat on medium heat, and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until it reaches your desired thickness. You can add the remaining sugar if desired, some berries are sweeter than others, so adjust according to your taste.
  3. Let cool completely.
  4. Prepare the Cheesecake Layer:
  5. Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Set aside.
  6. Prepare Strawberry Blondies:
  7. Combine cake mix, eggs, and oil in a medium bowl and mix until just combined. Add 1/4 cup of strawberry jam and continue to mix. Add up to 3 tbsp of heavy cream/milk if needed to make the mixture less thick (so it will be spreadable).
  8. Spread batter into a greased 9x9-inch pan.
  9. Spread the cream cheese mixture over top of batter, and spoon the the strawberry jam on top of it. Run a knife through the cream cheese and jam to create a swirl pattern. Try to avoid getting the knife in the blondie batter.
  10. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center come out clean.

Pistachio Loaf

Pistachio LoafIt all started with a visit to my parents house.  I noticed a green cake on the counter… intriguing.  I had to try it; it was SO good that I continued to try it until I had eaten three pieces in the five minutes I had been there.  My mom offered to write down the recipe for me, but I kindly declined.  I can’t make something like this and keep it at home…I have NO self control.  Well, I  regretted that decision almost immediately and that delicious, pale green, cake-like loaf has been haunting my taste buds ever since!Pistachio Loaf
St Patrick’s Day is the perfect excuse to make this wonderfully addicting treat and just as you may have guessed I would, I gave in and had my mom copy down the recipe for me last week.

Pistachio Loaf

The recipe is from a local newspaper (my mom couldn’t remember which), so I’m not sure where it came from originally.  It was actually titled pistachio bread, but it is very cake-like so I prefer to call it pistachio loaf.  You could (and maybe should) use chopped pistachios, but I used chopped walnuts because that’s what I had in my pantry.  I dusted these loaves with powdered sugar, but a simple vanilla glaze would be magnificent as well.Pistachio Loaf

I can’t tell you how much I love this, but I can try.  This recipe gets bonus points because my picky eater husband liked it too!  The delicate, moist center of this pistachio loaf is complimented perfectly by a sweet and slightly crisp crust.  It is soft and springy, sweet and has the perfect pistachio flavor.  I added two drops of green food coloring to enhance the green color and make it a bit more festive, but it is still a pale green without it.  It is SO delicious!

Pistachio Loaf

Pistachio Loaf

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 8x4 loaves, 1 9x5 loaf


  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz. box pistachio pudding
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease/butter and flour two 8x4 loaf pans or one 9x5 loaf pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients until well-blended.
  3. Pour into pans.
  4. Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely.

Pistachio Loaf


Yellow Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Nutella Buttercream

I had my first attempt at cake decorating last week, and for a first try, I think it went pretty well! I made the cake for my boss’s last day to wish him luck with his new business venture. It was very moist and had a great flavor. The buttercream wasn’t too sweet, which is something I think is very important when it comes to homemade frosting, and the nutella flavor combined very well with the cake and ganache!

Yellow Cake

  • 1 box of Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1 cup milk
  1. Butter and flour your cake pans (I used 3 9-in rounds so I would have 3 thinner layers).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, butter and milk and mix on medium speed until combined.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, with mixing well between each addition.
  4. Pour batter into pan(s).
  5. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center come out clean.

Note: I then wrapped each layer separately, first with saran wrap, then with tin foil, and froze for a day and a half until I was ready to decorate. I thawed them in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours the day I assembled and decorated the cake.

Tip for Moist Cakes: Combine 2 parts water to 1 part sugar (I used 1 cup water to 1/2 c sugar) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for several minutes and remove from heat. When cool, put the sugar water in a small spray bottle. Before assembling your cake, use a fork to poke holes in the cakes surface, then spray several times with the water (I sprayed about 5 times on each layer). Let it sit for a little bit (maybe 10 minutes) before you begin frosting.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips (semisweet)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
  1. In a double boiler, mix chocolate chips, half and half, and vanilla over simmering water. [Note: I don’t have a double boiler, so I just placed a heatproof bowl (I used a hard plastic bowl), in a saucepan with water]
  2. When there are no more chocolate chunks, you can remove the top (the bowl for me, but use a hot pad or towel).20121127-112729.jpg
  3. Let it cool for several minutes; I waited until mine was just about room temperature.
  4. Pour a generous amount of ganache onto the bottom two layers of your cake and even out with a spatula.
  5. Stick the layers in the freezer for a few minutes to harden up the ganache before you begin frosting.

Nutella Buttercream (from Sugar and Spice by Celeste)

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 13-ounce jar of Nutella
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar (1 bag)
  • 6-8 Tbsp milk
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and Nutella until combined and fluffy.
  2. Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar, and continue creaming until well blended.
  3. Add salt, vanilla, and a couple tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened.
  4. Add additional tablespoons of heavy cream or milk until you reach the desired consistency.
  5. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  6. Assemble your cake!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Layered Dessert

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no two things go together better than peanut butter and chocolate. This recipe is so easy and took less than half-hour to put together. It was light and fluffy, and the flavors worked wonderfully with each other. My coworkers loved it; I even got a “This is the best thing I have ever had.” Woo! I started with a recipe from Taste of Home, but by the time I was finished, I had changed it quite a bit.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Layered Dessert (adapted from Taste of Home)

  • 25 Oreos, divided 20 + 5
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 12 oz cream cheese (1 1/2 package), softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided
  • 2 8 oz containers frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 20 miniature peanut butter cups, chopped
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate fudge pudding mix
  1. Crush 20 cookies and toss with butter. Press into an ungreased 13×9; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, vanilla and 2 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
  3. Fold in mini chocolate chips. Spread over crust.
  4. Sprinkle with peanut butter cups.
  5. In another large bowl, beat the milk, pudding mix and remaining confectioners’ sugar on low speed for 2 minutes. Let stand for a couple minutes until soft-set.
  6. Fold in 1 container of whipped topping.
  7. Spread over peanut butter cups.
  8. Spread remaining container of whipped topping over the top.
  9. Crush remaining cookies; sprinkle over the top.
  10. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours.

Reese’s Pieces Cake

There is no better pair than peanut butter and chocolate.  None.  The cake had a really rich flavor, despite being from a box mix (although this is a trick I use often and I love it).  The consistency of the buttercream was normal, I used a little less powdered sugar so it would be a little more like a frosting.  There wasn’t too strong of a peanut butter taste, so I would consider adding more if I make it again.

Dark Chocolate Cake:

1 box dark chocolate cake mix

2/3 cup melted butter

1 1/4 cup milk

4 eggs

(I don’t have the box in front of me anymore, but I added one egg, substituted milk for water, and doubled the amount of oil and used melted butter).

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and grease the pan.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave.
  3. Add melted butter, eggs, and milk to the mix and mix with a beater (1 min low, 1 min medium).
  4. Add mix to greased pan and bake for  about 20 minutes.
  5. Let cool.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Buttercream:

8 oz cream cheese

1/4 cup softened butter

1/3 cup peanut butter

3 1/2 – 4 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 pack Reese’s pieces, chopped

  1. Cream butter, cream cheese, and peanut butter until smooth.
  2. Add vanilla.
  3. Slowly add powdered sugar until desired consistency/taste is reached.
  4. Sprinkle Reese’s piece on top.