Ice Cream Cake

ice-cream-cakeMy summer birthday boys have a bit of a tradition.  All three of them want to have an Ice Cream Cake.  Their favorite is chocolate cake with mint ice cream.  Sometimes they pick a different kind, like the S’more Cake in the picture.  I love making them because they are so easy to put together, easy to decorate and with the ice cream and cake together it’s a complete dessert.

AnneOpinion

An ice cream cake consists of two round cakes, a container of ice cream frozen in a round cake pan, and a container of Cool Whip.  Stack cake, ice cream, cake; cover with Cool Whip and you’re good to go.

The flavor combinations are endless.  Chocolate cake and strawberry ice cream; chocolate cake and cookies & cream ice cream; yellow cake with rocky road ice cream…use your imagination.

I like to decorate the top of cake by sprinkling it with a coordinating topping.  Junior mints for a chocolate/chocolate chip mint; Crushed Oreos on a chocolate/cookies & cream; graham crumbs, marshmallows and chocolate chips on a chocolate/s’more.

Make sure that your cake plate fits in your freezer and that you have enough space to put the cake in once it’s assembled.  Nothing is worse than having an ice cream cake melting because there was no where to freeze it.

The only down side to this cake is that it is not a last minute thing.  I always start 1-2 days before so that I can have 6-12 hours between each step.  But, as long as you plan in advance, you’ll have a cake that everyone will be super impressed with and took you very little prep time!

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Ice Cream Cake
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Ice Cream Cake
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Prepare a cake in two round pans. Wrap the cakes in plastic wrap and freeze them for 6-12 hours. Set ice cream out for 1/2-1 hour. Line a round cake pan with plastic wrap. Scoop ice cream into pan, filling the pan and smoothing the top flat. Freeze ice cream layer. O for 6-12 hours. Once all three are frozen, place a cake on a cake plate, place the ice layer on top of it, and the second cake on the top. Cover all of the cake with Cool Whip. Top with desired candy or crushed cookies. Freeze completed cake for at least 6 hours before serving.
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries

grahamcracker-pancakes In case you’ve missed a general pattern around here, I love anything with graham crackers. S’more Cookies, Peanut Butter Smuggies, and Kitchen Sink Pies are just a few examples. When I found this recipe on bitememore.com for Graham Cracker Pancakes with Cheesecake and Glazed Blueberries, I said “Sign me up!” These are a must try. Unfortunately I ended up with some mixed feeling about them.

AnneOpinion

grahamcracker-pancakes2Let’s start with the graham cracker pancakes. These showed such promise. They had graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and cinnamon. I thought they would knock it out of the park. They didn’t. Now, don’t get me wrong, they were good, but regular pancakes are good too and the don’t take nearly the effort or the amount of ingredients. Everyone liked them and ate all of them, but on one went crazy for them. Do what you will with that information.

The cheesecake topping was really good. I thinned it out by putting in more cool whip than was originally called for. When I ate it on the pancakes I felt like it overtook the whole thing. I ended up spreading it on very thin and it was perfect. It was a delicious filling and would work well as a frosting. I’m keeping this recipe tucked away to use on a cake or cupcakes in the future. It would be perfect with pumpkin cupcakes, or pumpkin bread, or gingerbread…you get the idea.

I’ve saved the best for last…the glazed fruit. The original recipe called for using blueberries.  I’ve been buying raspberries like crazy this year (yeah for low prices!!) and so I had raspberries on hand. I love that the fruit is not cooked for this glaze. You simply make a lemon syrup and then toss the berries in it. The syrup gives them a wonderful sweet tang that would pair well on any breakfast or dessert that berries would be appropriate for.

So there you have it. The pancakes may not have been all that I was hoping that they would be, but the cheesecake and berries (great surprise!) made up for it.

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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Cheesecake Graham Cracker Pancakes with Raspberries
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Ingredients
Graham Cracker Pancakes
Cheesecake Topping
Raspberries
Servings:
Instructions
  1. For the pancakes, in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, whole milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. Gently stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients do not over mix, lumps are okay. Over medium heat, pour batter onto a hot griddle. Cook until bubbles form, flip pancake and continue to cook until done. Serve with cheesecake topping and glazed raspberries. To make the cheesecake topping, beat cream cheese on medium speed with a handmixer until soft and fluffy. Add brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon continue to beat at medium speed until well combined. On low speed, add Cool Whip just until combined. To make the glazed raspberries stir powdered sugar, water and lemon juice in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat until mixture boils vigorously, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in berries.
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Southern Banana Pudding

southern-banana-puddingAngels.  They come into our lives at critical times. Times when we may be feeling emotionally or physically overwhelmed and they remind us that we are not alone.  That there are those in this world, and above this world, that available to support us, if we will only let them.  Two such angels came to me after the birth of my second son.

My first son had arrived late and I had needed to be inducted to have him.  I had been born 11 days late, (not that that means anything) but in my mind these two things meant that I would not be having babies early. Imagine my surprise when Baby #2 decided to demand his arrival 2 weeks early!  I was not ready for this and neither was my husband.  My mother was not in town (she quickly moved her flight to come in 4 days later).  She was my planned babysitter for while I was in the hospital and she was to be my help when I arrived home.  Oh, the best laid plans…

My husband took the next two days off from work, while I was in the hospital, but his schedule wouldn’t permit more than that.  So, I awoke that first morning home in full dread of the day ahead.  I had just given birth to a 10 lb 4 oz baby 3 days before and now I was on my own until 6:00 at night with said baby and a crazy active 23 month old.  It was all I could do to survive the day.  I’ll spare you my whining’s of the day’s happenings and just end with the wonderful angels that came to my house with a hot dinner for my family.  What a blessing!  It’s such a small thing, but it meant so much!  I was loved and others knew and empathized with what I was going through.  I was not alone!

The dessert that they brought was Southern Banana Pudding.  It was so good!  I savored every bite and managed to make it last for 3 days. I loved the soft cookies with the creamy pudding and the touch of sour that each of the lemon coated bananas had.  As far as I was concerned, it was heaven in a bowl.  I got the recipe and now every time I have Southern Banana Pudding I think of those angels and the light that they brought me.

I recently found this recipe on Chef Maria Kitchen and decided to try it because it was so similar to the one I already loved and I wanted to see if the differences improved it.  I actually like it better and this is now my go to recipe for Southern Banana Pudding.

AnneOpinion

I like to run my banana slices through lemon juice immediately after I slice them.  This makes sure that the slices don’t brown and I like the little bit of acidy that it adds to the dish.  To do this just quickly dip the slices in a small bowl of lemon juice and then place them in another or bowl to store until you need them.

This recipe is just like the one that I got from those angels 13 years ago, expect for one ingredient.  The cream cheese was a new addition for me to this recipe.  I liked how it help tone down the taste of the sweetened condensed milk and brought a real balance to the flavors.

When you make this pudding make sure and give it a least four hours to sit in the refrigerator before serving it.  This will give the cookies time to soften.

This is a perfect dessert for a summer BBQ or a potluck dinner.  It’s light and refreshing and friends, big and small, love bananas and vanilla wafers!

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Southern Banana Pudding
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Southern Banana Pudding
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place lemon juice in a small bowl. Slice bananas and quickly run them through the lemon juice. Set aside. Line the bottom of a large glass bowl or a 9x13 pan with 1 bag of cookies and half of the bananas on top. In a medium mixing bowl combine the milk and pudding and mix according to the directions on the box. In another bowl combine the cream cheese and condensed milk with an electric mixer and mix until smooth. Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture. Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding mixture and fold with a spatula until thoroughly combined. Pour half of the mixture over the cookies and bananas and repeat each of the layers (reserving cookies for the top if you want to decorate the top of the pudding.) Cover and refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion adapted from Chef Maria Kitchen

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Oreo Italian Love Cake

italian-Love-cakeSometimes you find a recipe that you like the look of so much that you accidently pin it on Pinterest a half a dozen times.  Italian Love Cake is one of those recipes for me.  I don’t know if it’s the beautiful clean lines between the layers or the fact that it’s chocolate cake with a cheesecake layer and chocolate frosting (yum!) but it’s been one that I’ve been contemplating for a while.  I realized that all of my pins linked bake to this original recipe from chewnibblenosh.com (who had adapted it from Paula Deen.) I finally tried it a couple of weeks ago and after making it a few times I feel like I’ve got a good recipe.

AnneOpinion

I originally thought that the recipe called for Oreos.  It did not, but since I already had them I decided to use them.  It was a good choice.  The Oreos add a nice texture difference and a punch of flavor that is needed.

I really was not in love with this recipe that first time I made it.  My family’s favorite part was the frosting which is pudding and cool whip.  Everyone thought that while the white layer looked cool, it was completely lacking in flavor.  My kids called it the white layer that tastes like nothing.  I knew that while it had very little flavor, it was made with 2 lbs of ricotta cheese so it had plenty of calories!  This really bothered me so I decided to add some flavor to it.  I used orange emulsion one time (if you’re wondering what emulsions are, check out my explanation here) and I used almond extract another time.  Both needed a lot (a whole tablespoon) and the flavor that came out was very mild.  It was enough though to make this cake one that I would make again.

Don’t eat this right out of the oven!  I did that the first time and it wasn’t good.  It need time to chill to have the flavors blend together.

Make sure and use an electric mixer with the pudding.  There is less milk than with a regular pudding recipe and will be lumpy if you just whisk it.

It’s really fun to see the white and brown layers switch places.  You start with the chocolate cake on the bottom and after baking the cheesecake is on the bottom.  The layers looks so impressive when the cake is cut!

I think it would be fun to try more flavors in the white layer.  Raspberry is next on my list!  Let me know if you try a new one and how you liked it!

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Italian Love Cake – – plus ingredients to make cake, ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, pkg of chocolate pudding, milk, Cool Whip, Oreos, Orange or almond extract or emulsion, Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9×13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Line the Oreos on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour over Oreos. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and orange or almond emulsion until smooth. Spoon cheese layer over the whole cake evenly. Don’t worry! The layers switch during the baking time! Bake the cake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting. Once the cake is cool, stir the pudding mix and milk together with an electric mixer until combined. Carefully, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day.
9.ENJOY!
; – <strong>AnneOpinion</strong>  adapted from <a href="http://chewnibblenosh.com/2013/05/28/chocolate-italian-love-cake/">chewnibblenosh.com</a>%5B/wpurp-searchable-recipe%5D
Italian Love Cake
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Italian Love Cake
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*F and spray a 9x13 inch pan with nonstick spray. Line the Oreos on the bottom of the pan. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together your cake mix according to the directions on the box. Pour over Oreos. In another bowl, using a hand mixer, beat together the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, and orange or almond emulsion until smooth. Spoon cheese layer over the whole cake evenly. Don't worry! The layers switch during the baking time! Bake the cake at 350 for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting. Once the cake is cool, stir the pudding mix and milk together with an electric mixer until combined. Carefully, fold the Cool Whip into the pudding until combined. Spread the pudding mixture over the top of the cooled cake. Cover the cake and refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day. 9.ENJOY!
Recipe Notes

AnneOpinion  adapted from chewnibblenosh.com

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The Tale of Two Oreo Trifles

strawberry-oreo-triflemint-oreo-trifleOne of the reasons that I started this blog was because I wanted to give an honest voice.  So many times I would see things on blogs that were beautiful, but didn’t taste good.  Take this Strawberry Oreo trifle, I was so excited to make it, and I was able to get a beautiful photo of it.  I was looking forward to being able to post a pair of trifle recipes (a Strawberry Oreo and a Mint Oreo) that you could make. Unfortunately that’s not how it worked out.  First of all, I would not recommend ever buying the Strawberry Oreos.  Their artificial strawberry taste isn’t good.  Now, I do believe that there is such a thing as good artificial strawberry flavor, McDonalds strawberry shakes and strawberry gummies come to mind.  However, the Strawberry Oreos were disappointing.   Next, I made Jello strawberry pudding to go with it.  That was not good either.  Apparently making good artificial strawberry isn’t very easy.  Long story short, I tried to make it better by turning it into a strawberry cheesecake mousse but lots of ingredients later, it was still just OK.  Sorry.  I’m hoping to have a good recipe for strawberry trifle sometime in the future.

Today though I do have a good one for Oreo Mint Trifle.  Here’s the deal on it.

AnneOpinion

These trifles are so super simple to make.  Chopped Oreos and different kinds of instant pudding made from a box mix.  Doesn’t get much easier than that!

I have found that generic instant pudding mixes are not the same as name brand (and by that I mean Jello).  Splurge for the name brand.

Mint Oreos are sooo good.  Be careful not to eat too many of them before you make your trifle(s). 😉

Adding the Cool Whip to the chocolate pudding is a great way to make a faux chocolate mousse.  The lightness of it is a good contrast to the heavier mint pudding.

I made the mint pudding by adding mint extract and green food coloring to vanilla pudding.  It worked great!

Enjoy this St Patty’s Day treat!

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Mint Oreo Trifle
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Mint Oreo Trifle
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Rough chop Oreos. Make vanilla pudding according to directions. Add mint extract and food coloring. Make chocolate pudding according to directions. Fold Cool Whip into chocolate pudding. Layer Oreos in the bottom of the cup, next add chocolate mousse and finally mint pudding. Repeat layers and top with Oreos.
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