French Vanilla Cake with Strawberries

This past month, it was two of my coworkers’ birthdays. One liked French Vanilla, the other liked Strawberry Shortcake. So I combined the two. A great dessert for a spring birthday gathering.



1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

1 cup butter, softened
7 to 8 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tapblespoon  vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, and dust the inside with flour and tap out excess. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
2. Beat the butter for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat another 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each addition.
3. Start adding the flour mixture one cup at a time. Alternate with the milk, and end with the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, mix well and pour into prepared cake pan.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes or when a knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a rack and cool.
5. For the frosting, place the softened butter in a mixing bowl and beat with 1/2 of the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla and milk, and mix well. Add another cup of powdered sugar 1 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency to spread. Beat until light and fluffy, and spread on the cooled cake. Top with strawberries.

12 servings

Brownies with Caramel and Walnuts

A trip to Starbucks the other day inspired this brownie recipe. My boyfriend was all over their caramel and walnut brownies, so I decided to try to make them myself. I am pretty partial about brownies, I could care either way. Anyway, my boyfriend was happy with the end result, so I guess that’s all that matters. 🙂



1 cup butter, melt
3 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup heavy cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking until it reaches a dark amber color. Add the butter and whisk into the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream. Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before topping the brownies.
3. For the brownies, combine the melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each, until thoroughly blended.
4. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a bowl. Gradually stir flour mixture into the egg mixture until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish. Scatter walnuts and top with the caramel sauce.
5. Bake in preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove, and cool pan on wire rack before cutting.

24 servings

Gingerbread Men and Thumbprint Cookies

Feeling quite the festive mood this year. However, whenever I bake, I later remember why I hardly bake. I don’t like baking. For me, it’s messy, time consuming, and somewhat impractical in my kitchen. For example, I could only bake six gingerbread men in the oven at one time. But anyway, they are almost done!

These are Gingerbread Men and Thumbprint Cookies from two of my favorite recipe websites.


Strawberry Cream Cake

Today at work, we celebrated Amanda L.’s and Gaby’s birthday. Gaby wanted me to make a strawberry cake for the celebration, so here it is! Although the recipe calls for fresh strawberries to garnish the cake, I decided to drizzle melted chocolate to make chocolate covered strawberries.

1  package white cake mix
1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened strawberries, pureed
8 ounces strawberry cream cheese
fresh strawberries (optional)

8 (1 ounce) squares white chocolate, chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
4 ounces cream cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly butter a large rectangular baking pan.
2. Make cake per directions except substitute the 1 1/2 cups of strawberries for the water, and add 1 extra egg (if cake mix calls for 3 eggs, add 4) and 8 ounces of the cream cheese at room temperature. Beat well and pour into the prepared pan.
3. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let the cake cool fully before frosting.
4. To make the frosting, heat the heavy cream until just beginning to boil. Pour it over the white chocolate and the 4 ounces cream cheese. Mix well and let cool. Once cool, fold into the whipped topping. Use to frost cooled cake and garnish with sliced fresh strawberries.

16 servings

Orange Cake

This cake is perfect for those warm summer days to come. A light citrus cake!


1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 orange, sliced (optional)

1/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter

1. Grease a 9 inch springform pan. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, stir together cake mix and pudding mix. Make a well in the center and pour in 3/4 cup orange juice, oil, eggs, and orange extract. Beat on low speed until blended. Scrape bowl, and beat 4 minutes on medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pan.
3. Bake in oven for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook 1/3 cup orange juice, sugar and butter for two minutes. Drizzle over cake. Place orange slices on top for decoration.

12 servings

Strawberry Cheesecake

Baking is not one of my specialties. I hardly ever bake cookies, cupcakes, or anything sweet. It might have to do with the fact that when I cook, I throw a bit of everything in, usually without measuring. When it comes to baking, it’s necessary to measure. Too much sugar or too little baking powder can result in an unsatisfied baked good.

However, once a blue moon, I find myself in a baking mood. Here’s a recipe for a strawberry cheesecake that I’ve made a couple of times on occasion. This cheesecake is lighter compared to the traditional cheesecake. I think it’s because of the addition of lemon juice. You can top the cake with fresh strawberries, and you have a dessert perfect for a beautiful spring day.


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen strawberries, thawed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of an 9 inch springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries and cornstarch. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan, and boil and stir for 2 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup strawberry sauce and cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving.
3. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Add eggs and beat on low just until combined.
4. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over crust. Drop half of the reserved strawberry mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto cream cheese layer. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce. Drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. With a knife, cut through top layer only to swirl strawberry sauce.
5. Bake at 300 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen and cool 1 hour longer.
6. Refrigerate overnight. Remove side of pan. Serve strawberry sauce with cheesecake. Store in the refrigerator.

12 servings