Chocolate-Pumpkin Layer Cake


  • 20 tablespoons (2 1/2 sticks) soft unsalted butter, more for greasing
  • 2 cups flour, more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup plain pumpkin purée, canned, frozen or fresh
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 10 ounces unsweetened chocolate, preferably 99 or 100 percent, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Use a little butter to grease two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.
  2. Using an electric mixer, cream 8 tablespoons butter and the granulated sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in pumpkin purée. Mixture may look slightly curdled. Stir in flour mixture about half a cup at a time until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
  3. Divide batter into pans and bake in middle of oven until springy to the touch and a tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, run a knife around edges, invert onto racks and peel off paper. Let cakes cool completely.
  4. In a large bowl, blend remaining 12 tablespoons butter and confectioners’ sugar together. Blend in chocolate and vanilla extract and beat until smooth.
  5. Place one cake layer, smooth side up, on a platter. Ice top. Place second layer, smooth side down, on top; ice top and sides of cake.

To make ahead: For fully frosted cake, put in freezer unwrapped; when frozen hard, wrap in plastic, then foil. Remove wrapping before defrosting.

Unfrosted cake layers out of their pans can be wrapped first, then frozen up to three weeks.

Frosting can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated, then brought to room temperature for at least one hour.

National Dessert Day

Red Velvet Cupcakes


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.

Cook's Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.

Inside Out Caramel Apples

A fun twist (literally) on traditional caramel apples! So delicious, and so much easier to bite into!


Ingredients 3 large Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples* 1 large lemon 2 cups brown sugar 1/2 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (alternatively, maple syrup) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Chocolate sauce (optional)

Directions Cut your apples in half and use a melon baller to scoop out the insides, leaving the walls intact at about 1/2 to 1/4 inch thickness. Squeeze the juice from the lemon onto the apples and allow to set. This will keep them from turning brown right away.

In a sauce pan over high heat, combine the brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and corn syrup. Stir until the brown sugar has dissolved. Allow to boil, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 230F, about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the vanilla, stir continually until it stops bubbling. Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes.

Using a paper towel, wipe your apples down, removing the lemon juice as much as possible. If the inside of your apple is too wet, the caramel wont stick. Pour the caramel into the hollowed out apples until just below the top.

Chill in the refrigerator until the caramel has set, about 20 minutes. Cut into slices** and drizzle with chocolate sauce if desired.

Storage: These don’t do well out of the refrigerator for very long. If you must keep them at room temperature, you might consider lying them on their sides, on a piece of parchment or wax paper. They will likely separate somewhat, but still taste good!

*Note: any firm, fairly dry baking apple will do. ** Note: I sprayed my knife with cooking spray (Pam) which helped with the slicing (if you don’t have cooking spray, wipe your knife with a bit of vegetable oil). Do NOT use a hot knife.

Patty P’s French Coffee Cake

Patty P’s French Coffee Cake

When I was growing up in Connecticut I knew it was Sunday or a holiday when this cake was brought out. My husband and my friend Leslie love this cake today.

  • 2 stick unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 package vanilla Jello or Kroger pudding
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans) or 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  •  Pam


Preheat oven to 350˚. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one a time beating well after each addition. In a large bowl whisk together: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, vanilla pudding. Add dry mixture alternately with sour cream to the wet mixture. Add vanilla and almond extract.  In a small bowl mix nuts or oatmeal, brown sugar and cinnamon. Grease a tube pan or bundt pan with Pam. Pour half the batter into a pan. Put half of the topping over the batter. Finish with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon mixture. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes (depends if it is a heavy pan or if your oven temperature is about right). Stick a skewer in to test if it is done or push gently with your hand. If it springs back it is done. Let it cool in the pan for an hour or more. Take out and wrap in foil or place on serving piece.




I always used to ask”what are we having for breakfast on a Friday night.”  I always new it wold be something yummy but blueberry pancakes were my favorite…….My mother would melt the unsalted land o lakes  butter and heat up the  Vermont maple syrup.  Yes, I practically licked the plate …….




  • 1/2-stick butter sliced into roughly tbsp portions or cooking spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cup cinnamon
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 stick butter sliced into roughly tbsp portions or cooking spray


Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and butter.  Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated.  Batter should be slightly lumpy.  Carefully fold the blueberries into the batter.  Batter may be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to twelve hours.


Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add a portion of butter or cooking spray to pan.  Use a 1/4 cup to drop batter into pan leaving at least two inches between pancakes.  Cook on first side until small bubbles on the upper surface start to pop and edges are smooth or set, about 2-3 minutes.  Using a spatula, turn the pancakes and cook on the second side until golden brown—the second side will not take as long to cook as the first.  It may be necessary to adjust the temperature to get a nice golden brown pancake that is cooked thoroughly,


Happy Father's Day to all the marvelous fathers out there! This recipe is dedicated to all of you but most of all, my dad. When I was little I had memories of him stashing some of mother's muffins away in the freezer. Then when it was time for afternoon tea, he'd take a couple out, cut them in half, butter them, and toast them. They were just as good a couple days later. It used to always make me laugh but was so clever. He was a man with many tricks up his sleeve. Here's to you dad! ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


  • 1 3/4 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  •  (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2cups fresh raspberries
  • 1`cup flour
  • 1cup sugar PLUS 1 TEASPOON OF CINNAMON (topping)


  1. Preheat oven to 400-degrees.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or coat with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients, slowly adding melted butter.
  3. Gradually add milk, egg and vanilla and fold into batter until combined.  Mixture will be lumpy.
  4. Carefully fold in raspberries to mixture.
  5. Bake for 17-20 minutes or 10-12 minutes if you’re making mini-muffins.  Set aside and cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Dust sugar on top of muffins

Variations:       Substitute other berries such as blueberries, blackberries or strawberries.  Or combine all for mixed berry muffins



Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I know for many Cinco de Mayo is the perfect excuse to enjoy a tall margarita but I thought today I would switch it up. Don't get me wrong, I'll definitely be breaking out the tequila for an ice cold margarita but I wanted to share a more unique recipe with Mexican roots to honor the holiday. 


Lulu’s Salty Caramel Banana Coconut Flan

Serves: 4-5


Preparation time: 20 minutes active, 1 ½ hours baking




2 cups milk

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

¾ cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick, or ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon

1 large piece of lemon zest

1 tablespoon rum

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg




Start by infusing some flavor into the milk. Put the milk in a medium saucepan with the lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and rum.

Slowly bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Once done, set aside to cool (this is important).

You will need some custard cups suitable for the oven. You don’t necessarily need flan cups, but you need something about 3” wide by about 2” tall.

In a small non-stick skillet, spread out ¼ cup of the sugar. We are going to create the caramel to go in the custard cup.

Heat the sugar carefully and it will start to melt. Stir until you get a nice golden brown color.

Pour about ½ tablespoon into each cup and tilt the cup to spread the caramel to cover the bottom of each cup.

You need to work fast as the caramel will harden quickly!

Go ahead and preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Now in a small mixing bowl, combine eggs, ½ cup of sugar, and vanilla. Beat until foamy.

Pour in the milk (it has cooled, right?) through the strainer to remove the extra bits.

Mix the milk and eggs well.

Pour the mixture into each cup as near to the top as you can. Place the cups (not touching each other) in a deep baking pan or dish.

Pour boiling water into pan around the cups so that you have about an inch of water in the pan. This creates a water bath for the custard.

Bake now for 1 ½ hours. Check the custard with a thin knife in the center of one of the flans.

Remove from the oven when done and remove the cups from the bath to cool.

Can be served at room temperature or cooled.

Remove from the cup by sliding a think knife around the edge of the cup. Enjoy!

Butterfinger Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

This recipe is so simple—stir crushed candy bars into softened ice cream—but it’s a real crowd pleaser. Dress it up with homemade chocolate sauce and wafer-thin chocolate cookies.

• 1 pint vanilla bean ice cream • 3 original-size Butterfinger candy bars, crushed (reserve one bar for garnish) • 1 Cadbury caramel-milk chocolate candy bar • 1/2 cup whipping cream • 1/2 teaspoon salt • Chocolate cookie wafers • Fresh mint leaves

Let vanilla bean ice cream soften in refrigerator. Transfer ice cream to bowl. Mix in two crushed Butterfinger bars. Transfer ice cream mixture to freezer-safe container; freeze.

For sauce, heat caramel-milk chocolate bar and whipping cream together in double boiler, stirring until candy bar melts. Remove from heat. Stir in salt. Let cool; store in refrigerator. To warm sauce, microwave for 30 seconds.

To serve, spoon sauce into bottom of bowls. Top with ice cream mixture. Garnish each serving with remaining crushed Butterfinger bar, chocolate cookie wafer, and mint leaf. Makes 6 servings.

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National Oatmeal Cookie Day

Happy National Oatmeal Cookie Day! 

I love to keep this dough in the freezer and treat myself to a bite of cookie dough every once in a while.

Makes 6 dozen

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup toasted wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups packed light brown sugar

2 sticks butter, softened

1 stick margarine, softened

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup dried cranberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat. 2. Stir together the oats, flour, wheat germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and in a large mixing bowl and set aside. 3. Place sugar, butter, and margarine in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium speed until fluffy. 4. Reduce speed to low and slowly add oat-flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips and cranberries and mix gently with a spatula. 5. Scoop the dough into rounds and place them 1-inch apart on the baking sheet.  6. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until golden and just set. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.