Ganache, For Those Who Hate Chopping Chocolate

I despise chopping chocolate. This, right here, is my enemy.

I realize that food bloggers are supposed to have some sort of idealized, Anthropologie photo shoot type of kitchen and CIA-caliber culinary skills, but I am just going to level with you: I'm an awful and messy chocolate chopper.

It's likely because I have never really learned proper knife skills; in my kitchen, when it's time to chop chocolate, it's an ugly hacking scene which always results in a BOM (Big Ol' Mess) in my kitchen. 

The thing is, chopping chocolate is NECESSARY for certain recipes. Say, ganache. You really need to chop the chocolate, because if you were to pour hot cream or milk on top of a big block of unchopped chocolate, it would never melt into a creamy, velvety ganache. 

But guess what, my friends? There's another way. 

Yesterday, as I faced with the task of chopping chocolate to make ganache for the bottom level of a pie, the idea of taking out a knife, chopping chocolate, and then cleaning up the inevitable mess I'd make simply seemed insurmountable. It seemed impossible. 

But then, a little lightbulb went on over my head. I found myself wondering, "what if I put this big ol' block of chocolate in the oven for a few minutes, and melted it instead?". I figured that if I got the chocolate a bit melty, then I could just pour the hot cream on top of it and it would make an effortless ganache that would require no chopping.

Here's what I did: 

Step 1: I preheated the oven to 200 degrees. Low!

Step 2: I grabbed an oven-safe vessel. I reached for a loaf pan, which in retrospect was probably not the best vessel, but it did work.

Step 3: I put a 6-ounce block of expensive chocolate inside of the vessel. I live for risk! 

Step 4: I put it in the oven, and checked on it every few minutes. After about 3-4 minutes, it looked soft and was leaving a little puddle on the bottom of the pan.

After about 8-10 minutes, it had a slight "crack" on top and I thought to myself, "you'd better take this out of the oven". 

As it turned out, when lightly touched with a spoon, the chocolate exploded into molten, completely melted chocolate. OK! 

Step 5: I heated up some cream to the simmer point, and poured it in the loaf pan on top of the chocolate.

Step 6: I mixed it up with a whisk, cursing myself for choosing the loaf pan every time I spattered myself with chocolate (really not the best vessel for this project; next time I will use an oven-safe bowl). 

Now, I know that in the food world, especially in the day and age of DIY everything, I should be embracing the process and never taking shortcuts.

But dammit, this worked! I didn't have to do the dreaded chocolate chopping, and my ganache came out beautifully. I poured it into my pie shell (this pie has another layer of chocolate goodness on top) and it set beautifully. 


SO! Moral of the story is, if you're lazy and hate chopping chocolate like me, but you really want to make homemade ganache, you can use the oven to melt your chocolate instead. 

What are your thoughts on chopping chocolate? 

Banana Buttercream

Can I tell you about this cool thing I did with a gross banana? 

OK, so I shouldn't have written that. As I looked back at it I immediately could see that it could be interpreted in very many wrong ways, but at the same time, it made me laugh, so I'm keeping it.

Anyhow, back to the gross banana. It's totally gross. It got this way because it was in my car and I forgot about it for 2 days. Sorry, banana.

Well, I had just recently made banana bread so I wanted to try something different, and found myself thinking: hey, could I make buttercream with a banana? 

Well, as fast as I could peel that awful thing I did and decided to see what would happen.

I started by discarding the yucky peel.

Then, I put my banana in my stand mixer. I added some sugar.

I added a bunch more. After about 3 cups I believed I had something here; after 6 cups, it was of a buttercream consistency.

It is thicker and more viscous than buttercream - I think that is the nature of the beast. But it worked! I topped some of my recently baked hot milk cake with it, and it was glorious. It was very sweet because quite a bit of sugar did have to be added, but tasty. I think with caramel, or with some salt, it would have been even better. 

But you know, I decided the fun should not in fact stop there. The buttercream sets firm, so I decided I should make use of it quickly. So I slightly chilled it in the fridge, then rolled it into little banana buttercream balls. Which I coated in rainbow sprinkles, because that is what one does, right? 

So, there you have it: banana buttercream is a thing, it's vegan, and it's here for you. Here's how you do it.

Banana buttercream

Makes about 2 cups 

  • 1 very ripe, almost gross, banana
  • 4-6 cups confectioners' sugar

(note: I didn't add vanilla or anything, but I think it's a good idea! I just forgot in my excitement over the experiment)

Combine the banana and 2 cups of confectioners' sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Cream it together; as the sugar is absorbed, add more, 1 cup at a time, until it reaches a good spreading consistency. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla or a little salt if you wanna. 

Use it on whatever cake or cookies you'd like! Enjoy! 

Psst! If you like this, you might enjoy this avocado cake recipe, which features avocado buttercream!

Have you ever made an "alternative" buttercream? 

Make Dish Washing Easier By Making Chocolate Milk

This is a public service announcement designed to save you time and gain you snacks.

In general I don't mind washing dishes. But I do mind washing a pan or the top of a double boiler after I've melted chocolate inside. It's messy, it takes forever to clean, and I lament the loss of that chocolate. 

But never again will I lament. Nor should you. Because this is an amazing solution that saves you much of the cleaning hassle, and gives you a tasty snack. 

Make chocolate milk. 

You heard me. Next time you have chocolate scum all over the bottom and sides of a pan or double boiler, simply do this:

1: Pour some milk (non dairy alternatives are fine) in the pan.

2: Heat it on low until the chocolate melts into the milk. Stir every now and again to keep it from sticking or scorching. Scrape the sides of the pan to get all that chocolate goodness melted into the milk.


3: Enjoy as hot chocolate, or put it in a jar and save it in the fridge for later as a rich, thick chocolate milk. 

Note: Do not share with your pug, even though he tells you he is STARVING. 

Enjoy the fact that your pan is now much cleaner, and much easier to clean. And enjoy your snack, too.

Cue the "the more you know" music!

Love, CakeSpy

Science: Meringues Made From Freaking Chickpea Water

Guess what I used to make these meringues? FREAKING CHICKPEA WATER. And sugar and vanilla. That's it.

I had heard that you could make magical things using chickpea water. I even featured such a recipe on this site, from a guest contributor.

So the other day, when making roasted garbanzo beans, I reserved the chickpea water to try something out for myself.

I wasn't sure what I wanted to make, so I put the water in the fridge and thought about it. A day passed and I forgot about it. On day two, I remembered and made a note on my to-do list: "EITHER FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH THE CHICKPEA WATER OR THROW IT OUT".

Now, I hate food waste, so that was motivation for me. I decided to find myself a recipe to utilize this freaking chickpea water.

This recipe looked simple and easy, and a good starting point, so I decided to give it a try.

I put the chickpea water (also known as "aquafaba" but I prefer "chickpea water") and some vanilla in a bowl, and started mixing.

I added some sugar in a slow, steady stream. I kept mixing.

I realized that i accidentally had put on the paddle attachment, not the whisk. Oops. I swtiched it, and kept on mixing.

I mixed this stuff for about 20 minutes, and at times, I thought nothing was going to happen. But then, after a bathroom break, vacuuming my house, and checking Facebook, it started to set. 

OMG - it freaking LOOKED like whipped egg whites, you guys! 

I tasted it. It tasted good. Normal. Not like a hummus byproduct. Honestly, sort of marshmallow-like.

I loaded the mixture into a bag and piped it on to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pretty!

And I baked 'em up.

Well, I think I shouldn't have piped so decoratively nor should I have placed the meringues so close together, because this happened.

But in spite of appearances, the recipe wasn't ruined; I just cut apart the ones that were stuck together and enjoyed their new, decidedly boob-like, shape. 

They looked like meringues. Boob-like meringues, but still. 

They taste like meringues, with a slightly different aftertaste. But not bean-y. Just different. Sort of marshmallow-y, but without the chewiness, like sugary air. 

These are very nice meringues, and naturally gluten-free and vegan. So they're great if you have vegan or gf eaters you want to please. 

But mostly, do this for the magic. You'll feel like Mr. Wizard!

Chickpea water meringues

Makes about 20 - printable version here

  • Liquid strained from 1 can of chickpeas (15 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F.

Pour the liquid and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I was so dopey, I mixed it for a few minutes with the paddle before I realized my mistake and switched!). 

With the mixer running, slowly pour in the sugar in a steady stream.

Whisk for a nice long while. It took me about 20 minutes to attain peaks on the mixture; during that time I prepped a baking sheet with a silicone liner. It took a while, but when they did "set", I was totally confounded. This LOOKED and felt like whipped egg whites. 

Load it up into a bag and pipe it on to your lined baking sheet. Leave space around each one. 

Bake anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours, depending on the size and shape of your cookies. 

Have you ever baked with aquafaba (or as I call it, freaking chickpea water)?

Let's Make Peanut Butter Fudge in the Microwave

You heard me. Let's get this going in five minutes or less (including prep), shall we? 

Peanut butter fudge in the microwave. It's so easy. It's so decadent, so sweet, so downright naughty. You've got to have it. 

As a side note, I should probably tell you that I really, really love my microwave. It's my go-to kitchen gadget when I feel like experimenting with food. From exploding marshmallows to melting candy, I've had a lot of good times with my microwave. 

But I digress. 

This recipe began in my kitchen when I discovered a similar one on Kirbie's Cravings. I was looking for creative fudge inspiration for an article I was writing, and I loved the idea of peanut butter fudge in the microwave. I've already tackled white chocolate and chocolate varieties in the microwave, so peanut butter seemed like a natural next step.

I made some alterations to the recipe: adjusting the amount of sugar and making it a little flexible because I think that different types of peanut butter will require more or less. I also added a little salt and vanilla, because I like to get fancy like that sometimes.

Recipe note: creamy peanut butter is far easier to mix, but I really don't see why you COULDN'T use crunchy--it would just require a significant amount of added elbow grease. 

If you want a piece of fudge that will remind you of the inside of a peanut butter cup, make this fudge. It really can be yours in less than five minutes, by harnessing the power of microwave science. 

Peanut butter microwave fudge 

Printable version here

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Line an 8 inch square inch pan with tinfoil, leaving little "arms" extending over the sides of the pan (for easy removal). Generously grease the foil and the sides of the pan. 

In a large, microwave-appropriate bowl, combine the pb and butter (cut into pieces). Cook on HIGH in the microwave for one minute; remove, and stir. Keep cooking in 20 second blasts until the pb and butter are totally melted together.  

Stir in the salt and vanilla and mix to combine. Working with 1 cup at a time (you may no need all the sugar), add the powdered sugar, whisking vigorously to incorporate each addition. Work it into a smooth batter.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan and flatten it with the top of a rubber spatula. Let the fudge chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before slicing into squares to serve. 

Ever made something cool in the microwave?

Can You Make Caramel Sauce With Milk Instead of Cream?

FACT: Caramel sauce is delicious. Caramel sauce is dreamy, and filled with cream. But wait. Can you make creamy caramel sauce when you're all out of cream? The answer is yes: it's possible to make caramel sauce with milk instead of cream, and I want to tell you how. 

But before I do that, I feel that I should offer a small education on the unusual process that is making caramel, because it is full of moments when your mixture looks WRONG, and I want to tell you about them and why you're actually doing things right.

These are some hard-earned tidbits I have picked up from experience. These hold true whether you're using cream OR milk.

1: A sturdy, heavy-bottomed saucepan with tall sides is your best bet.

You'll see that I didn't quite follow my own advice in the photo tutorial, but I am pretty accustomed to making this sauce so I have learned how to do it. If you have never made caramel, you'll be happy for the tall sides on a pot, because of the next thing:

2: When you add the milk to the sugar, the reaction can be scary.

The basic process of making caramel sauce is this: you'll melt some sugar, then you'll incorporate milk, then cook until thickened. 

But here's the thing: when you add the liquid to the hot sugar, it's going to have a firecracker of a reaction: it's going to bubble, it's going to hiss, it's going to seem like something is very wrong. Guess what? It's totally normal. You just want those high walls on the pot so that when it gets bubbly and scary, it doesn't make a big mess on your stovetop.

3: When you add the milk to the sugar, weird, hardened bits of sugar will form.

In addition to the crazy reaction, bits of sugar will solidify and look like ruined lumps and bumps when you add the liquid. Some of them, as you can see above, are really quite scary and wrong-looking. Guess what? Also this is normal. By continuing to cook the liquid, those bits will dissolve gradually. Even that monster-lump above! 

4: It's not hard to make caramel sauce, but it requires your full attention.

Making caramel sauce isn't hard, but please give it your undivided attention. It's worth it in the end, because you'll have a smooth, delicious caramel, and won't have any scorched pans to have to deal with later.

OK, now that you've read these cautions, let me tell you how to make caramel with milk instead of cream! 

Note: this is a salted caramel sauce. If you're the single person in the world who does not love salt and caramel, you can omit the salt. 

Caramel sauce with milk 

Printable version here

Makes about 1 3/4 cups 

  • 2 cups sugar 
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Pour the sugar into your large pot. Shift the pot side to side to distribute the sugar evenly.

Put the pot over medium-low heat. Stay nearby, but don't stir or shift the sugar. This is a slow, gentle heating, and nothing visual will really happen for a few minutes. Concurrently, you can combine the milk and the vanilla in a heatproof measuring cup, and heat the mixture in the microwave for about 1 minute (this will help lessen the reaction when the liquid hits the hot sugar in a bit). 

After several minutes (it was about 8 minutes for me), you'll see the sugar beginning to liquefy. At this point, use a heatproof rubber spatula to turn the mixture over on itself, moistening the still-dry portions of sugar. 

Continue heating. As the sugar warms, it will begin to darken in color, first to a sort of beige and then to a light caramel tone. When the sugar has reached a rich caramel tone, medium-brown but not dark, remove from heat. Now, be ready for some hissing and bubbling as you pour about 1/3 to 1/2 of the milk mixture into the caramel mixture. It will hiss, it may bubble, hardened bits may form, but it shouldn't bubble over the sides of the pot. Once the bubbling has subsided, add the rest of the milk mixture, and return the pot to the burner, and put it on medium-low heat. Remember: those hardened bits = totally normal.

Stir constantly as the mixture cooks. You'll see that the hardened bits begin to shrink and then dissolve. Once they are mostly dissolved, stir in the salt.

Cook for about 10 minutes for a thinner caramel sauce, 15-20 minutes for a thicker sauce. Remove from heat when the mixture is about 20% short of how thick you'd like it, because it will thicken more as it cools. If it seems at all lumpy, strain it through a fine mesh strainer. 

Transfer the mixture to a heatproof container to cool. Store leftovers in the fridge in jars. Enjoy on EVERYTHING. 

Do you like caramel sauce?

Carrot Sugar: It's a Thing. Or at Least it Should Be.

I have done something creative and unusual with carrots. No, it doesn't involve starting my own adult YouTube channel. What I did is this: I made carrot sugar. 


Let me explain how this magical orange dust came into existence. You see, a few weeks ago I was working on developing a recipe for carrot cupcakes. They came out beautifully, and part of their appeal was the homemade candied carrot peel garnish. 

Candied carrot peel is made by boiling carrot shavings in a simple syrup, then baking them low and slow until they become firm. It's a fantastic carrot cake garnish.

But once the recipe was done, I had a lot of candied carrot peel. As appetizing as it is as a garnish, it's not quite as appealing as a stand-alone snack. So, I found myself with a good 3/4 cup of candied carrot peel. 

I don't know if I'm the only one who thinks like this, but.

When it came to using up this candied carrot peel, I pretty immediately thought "I wonder what would happen if I ground this candied carrot peel back into sugar?"

After it had been around for a few days, it had gotten pretty dry, which I figured would work to my advantage. 

So, I put the carrot peel in the blender...

...and blended. At first it was somewhat coarse, so I blended a bit more, until it had a consistency with the smallest granules like confectioners' sugar, and the largest about the consistency of granulated sugar. 

All of those candied carrot bits yielded a rather small amount of sugar (about 3 tablespoons' worth), but look at how pretty. 

So how would I use this carrot sugar? 

The way that I decided to do it was like so: to use it in a very small-batch buttercream. 

I combined about 2 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter with the carrot sugar and a pinch of salt, and mixed with a little spreading knife, acting like it was a palette knife and I was mixing acrylic paint. It made me feel like a particularly artistic bunny. 

Then, I piped it on to a cupcake. 

I loved how this came out! I have to say that I have the benefit of having gone through the process of creation, so I think that I was tasting with extra curiosity and anticipation. I don't know if you'd be able to tell that this was a carrot buttercream, because interestingly, it didn't SCREAM carrot.

So, the carrot-sugar buttercream was subtle--not super carrot-y, but definitely a little different. The carrot bits gave it a little bit of texture, and a definitely earthy flavor. The sweetness wasn't as tooth-numbing as a typical confectioners' sugar. 

To review: how I made this carrot sugar

  1. I made a batch of candied carrot peel
  2. Part of it, I used to garnish carrot cupcakes. But I had about 3/4 cup of candied carrot peel leftover, and no particular use for it.
  3. I blended the leftover candied carrot peel into a sugar consistency.
  4. I used it in a small-batch buttercream, but I bet it would be a great way to sweeten a club soda or a cocktail, or to use as a sprinkled garnish on a carrot cake. 

Oh, and PS, I also reserved the sugar-water from boiling the candied carrot peel, let it dry, and then ground that, too. It's in the background here. What should I do with that, do you think? 

If you give it a try, enjoy! 

Five Things to Do With Leftover Carrot Cake

Please don't say "I never have leftover carrot cake". Because you're being boring and dismissing the important things I have to say here. And after all, what if one day you did have leftover carrot cake? It makes for a fine #whathappenswednesday question. 

Last week I had leftover carrot cake, because I had to make three batches of carrot cupcakes for a recipe I was developing. That's quite a few cupcakes.

With three dozen cupcakes and a household of two, a couple are bound to go stale before they are consumed. So if you should find yourself in the unlikely but possible situation where you have leftover carrot cake, here are my suggestions on how to use it creatively:

1. Melty ice cream and carrot cake cubes.

This is easy. It is not attractive, but it is delicious. It goes like so: cut the carrot cupcake into cubes. Distribute them in a container of nice and melty ice cream (or, in a soft scoop that is in a cup). Mix together, and enjoy. 

1b. Carrot cake milkshake

Related to the previous idea, you could just mix more vigorously and turn your creation into a shake, which is always a great use of leftover cake. 

2. Fried carrot cupcakes

Simply slice up the carrot cake and fry it in butter. It's easier than making French toast (which is also an option, of course) but no less delicious. You don't even need sugar because the cake is already sweet. 

3. Small batch cake truffles 

Crumble up the cupcake; the amount of frosting in proportion to the cake should yield a mixture which can easily be formed into balls. I got three good-sized portions from a single cupcake. Let the cake balls freeze for an hour or so, so that they won't crumble when you enrobe them.

Melt some chocolate (I used about 2 ounces of white chocolate), and coat the frozen balls (haha) with the melted chocolate. Enjoy! 

4. Carrot cake pudding

Crumble a carrot cupcake, as you did for the cake truffles. Place about half of the cupcake crumbles in the bottom of a bowl or mason jar. Spoon 1/2 cup (or more, to taste) vanilla pudding on top. Layer with the remaining cake crumbles, then with more pudding. You have a pretty parfait of a pudding. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product!

5. Make carrot cake infused vodka.

Hmm, do you want to get a sugar high or do you want to get crunk? Why decide when you can enjoy both intoxicating effects, simultaneously, in one potable form? Making carrot cake infused vodka is the ultimate way to maximize vice consumption. Simply cut up the cupcake, put it in a sealable container (mason jars work well) with enough vodka to submerge it (it won't be pretty at first), and let it sit in the fridge for 2 days. Strain out the cake, and enjoy the sugary flavor it imparts on the vodka. Enjoy alongside one of the other carrot cake creations listed in this post.

Which is your favorite idea for using up leftover carrot cake?

Cadbury Creme Scrambled Eggs

What happens when you treat your Cadbury Creme Eggs like real eggs and scramble them for breakfast? That sounds like a great #whathappenswednesday subject to me. Short answer? This happens.

Nope: that's not a pile of poo alongside toast and berries. It's scrambled Cadbury Creme Eggs. Of course, if you'd like a little bit more explanation, I'm happy to oblige. Here's how I went about making this dish. 

Oh yeah, and btw - shout out to Bags of Love for that awesome new cutting board featuring my art!

First, I bought a Cadbury Creme Egg. This took longer than I thought, because --and have any of you had this issue?--apparently they are impossible to scan at grocery store checkouts. This happens every time I try to buy Creme eggs! So. It took far longer than it should have, but finally I was released from line and headed home with my treasure.

Usually, to make scrambled eggs, I would put an egg and a little milk in a bowl or cup and whisk it with a fork. Well, I knew the hard chocolate shell of a cadbury creme egg wouldn't crack and certainly shouldn't be discarded, so I cut it into pieces first, then I whisked it with some milk.

Then, I heated up a little frying pan with a generous pat of butter, over high heat. I turned the egg mixture into the pan, and reduced the heat as soon as it was added (just like regular scrambled eggs).

I kept the mixture moving a little in the pan. At first it seemed like the milk and the chocolate were quite separate, but it began to kind of melt together. 

Once it seemed like the eggs were melty but still had texture, I removed from the pan and transferred to a plate. They looked very boring and distinctly like poop.

Well, I decided they needed accompaniment. Just like regular scrambled eggs! 


So, I added two little slices of pound cake with butter to act as toast, and then some berries to round out the plate and add a healthy element to this breakfast delight.

Normally, I would put salt and pepper on my scrambled eggs, but it hardly seemed the right choice here, so instead I sprinkled the candy version with sprinkles. 

Voila! Breakfast is served. 

It might be ugly but it's full of delicious, and I think you'd be delighted to have this as a cute little snack or decadent easter breakfast for yourself, or to offer your kids. I mean, they're eating a bunch of candy that day anyway, right? At least this way they can pick up some culinary skills, have some fun, and have some fruit on the side. 

Happy Easter! 

February 24: National Tortilla Chip Day, and a Pancake Experiment

Today is National Tortilla Chip Day. Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing agains tortilla chips. I've even created tasty desserts with them. But I have a different carb on my radar today: PANCAKES. 

You see, a few weeks ago Krusteaz sent me a whopping box full of every sort of breakfast boxed mix, including Belgian waffles, blueberry muffins, and plain buttermilk and blueberry pancakes. They sent it to me because February is Hot Breakfast Month (did you know?) and they want to promote the idea of breakfast all day, including for dinner. They asked, in return, that I tell you about this coupon. Well, I've done it. You might want to use it after you see what I did with their mix. 

As readers of this site well know, a boxed mix to me is like a written experiment to conduct a culinary experiment. So while I looked over my box of goodies, I found myself wondering one thing above all:

What would happen if I mixed up a batch of pancakes, but instead of cooking them on the griddle, baked them into one big pancake in a pie plate? 

Well, let me tell you, the oven was set to preheat to 350 (I just stuck with a moderate temperature) within the minute, and I hastened to grab and grease a pie plate.

I prepped the blueberry pancake mix per the instructions, which I can summarize in two easy words for you: ADD WATER.

A batch of 6-7 servings was 1 cup of mix plus 2/3 cup of cold water; figuring a pie plate typically has 8 or so servings, I upped the quantities slightly, using 1 1/2 cups of mix and 1 full cup of cold water. 

I poured the mixture into the prepared pie plate...

and let it bake. I started out at 15 minutes; at that mark, the edges were golden but the center was still light. I let it bake for 2 more minutes, but at that point I took the pancake out because I didn't want the edges to dry out, and the top did look cooked through. 

I took that baby out of the oven, and here's what it looked like: 

I let some butter melt on top, and garnished with a strawberry. Oddly I had no syrup in the house, but as my mamma taught me, a good pancake really doesn't need syrup; it should be able to stand on its own. So how would this one stand up? 

Since there are no rules about how to cut a large pancake baked in a pie plate, I bravely forged my own path and decided to serve it in wedges. It sliced nice and cleanly. Nice, toasty edges, but soft in the center.

The texture was fluffy and perfectly done. I dug in with my fingers, because A) I am a LADY, and B) the closest fork was a marathon 20 feet away. 

Well, I'll be. This worked pretty darned well! The texture was very fluffy. While the finished creation looked cake-like, it definitely still had the soul of a pancake. It was a fun and novel way to serve them, and the mix tasted just fine without syrup, I think. 

This experiment got my mind going in so many directions.  You could doctor the mix up with add-ins like chocolate chips, nuts, or banana slices; or, what if you baked up two large pancake rounds and stacked them with a maple buttercream for a sort of ultimate breakfast pancake cake?

Or, in keeping of the "Breakfast Night" theme, you could top this sweet pancake with eggs, sausage, and/or bacon for a savory delight.

Of course, you could just bake it up and serve hot little pancake wedges, like I did.

If you want to recreate this magic, here's how I did it!

Oven blueberry pancake 

  • 1 1/2 cups Krusteaz Blueberry Pancake Mix
  • 1 cup cold water 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a pie plate.

  1. Mix the pancake mix and water together with a wooden spoon, only long enough to moisten.
  2. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the top has a matte finish (it may still be light in color).
  4. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, and serve. 

Have you ever baked pancakes in the oven? 

Can You Make Cake Frosting with Hot Fudge Sauce?

A few weeks ago, I got this super sweet package of samples from Smuckers / Pillsbury. It included jam, baking mixes (including an infamous box of brownie mix) and some ice cream sauces. And by ice cream sauces I mean hot fudge and salted caramel.

Yesterday, when making my annual Groundhog Day cake, I found myself wondering:

Could I make an easy cake frosting using hot fudge sauce? 

Well, once I got that thought in my mind there was no getting it out, so I decided to give it a try. I decided to try combining a jar of Smuckers hot fudge and a stick of butter to see what would happen.

Well, it mixed up nicely, but I could tell it was too soft to be an effective cake frosting, so I added in about a cup of confectioners' sugar, maybe a little more. 

That worked nicely. The resulting frosting was creamy, chocolatey, smooth and slippery (in a good way--it glided on to the cake easily from my little icing spatula), and tasted way fancier than you'd think, given its humble ingredients. The hot fudge mixture gave the frosting a different flavor than a buttercream made using cocoa powder--it was thicker and somehow, I don't know, juicier. It seemed to have a more full flavor, with a slightly caramelly aftertaste.

It made for a very sweet little groundhog cake. 

So, if you want to make a super easy frosting, try this! 

Easy chocolate frosting

Sufficient for an 8-inch cake 

  • 1 jar Smuckers Hot Fudge Topping, at room temperature
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more to taste

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the hot fudge topping and butter until combined and creamy. Add the confectioners' sugar, and blend until combined. If the frosting is too soft for your liking, add more sugar, 1/4 cup or so at a time until it has your desired spreading consistency.