Questionable Baking

A law school student who has fun in the kitchen!

Chocolate Cake that will stun you! September 25, 2012

Filed under: Delicious Baked Goods — Elise @ 2:45 pm

I have come across my favorite cake! Or at least it is for now. It is a rich moist deep chocolate cake. It has really flavor and is just delicious! I have played around several times this summer to find the best recipe! Well I think I have done it! When my sister ate this she paid me a very high compliment saying “this taste just like mom’s cake!” I am excited to make it again.

So to make my favorite cupcake, you need an awesome frosting. I top this delicious cake with a cream cheese salted caramel frosting and then drizzle salted caramel on top of that. Let me tell you, IT IS AWESOME!!! If you like sweet, salty, chocolate, and sugar then you must try it!!! With all the components it can be a challenging recipe, but it is worth it!

I really think this cake recipe would be good plain though. It is delicious and will pair well with any thing you want to top it with. I may just sprinkle powder sugar on top like my mom use to. So try it because I know you are always looking for an awesome cake recipe!!!!

Almost Like Mom’s Chocolate Cake

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk (what an oxymoron)
  • 1 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate (melt in coffee)

Preheat oven to 350?F.

Grease and flour one 13 x 9-inch baking pan. If you want a layer cake, use two 9-inch pans or one can line a cupcake pan.

In the cup of hot coffee melt the chocolate and set aside to cool a bit. In large bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee mixture, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of electric mixer 2 minutes. Batter will be thin.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean (30-35 minutes for round pans, 35-40 minutes for rectangular pans).

Cool 10 minutes; (if using 9-inch round cake pans, remove from pan) and cool on wire racks.


Salted Caramel

Filed under: Delicious Baked Goods — Elise @ 2:24 pm

I have really had fun making salted caramel this summer. It has created the greatest frustration, and something I continuously want to keep making so I can actually get it right on the first round. That is right, every time I have made caramel it has taken me more than one attempt. I have been very glad that when I do make it I am home alone. It can be very hard to actually get it right, but when you do… is worth every wasted sugar crystal. Here are some tips for those who look all over the web for the very best recipe…..1. not all recipes actually are accurate 2. dry sugar when melting it does not work very well at all 3. if a recipe fails twice move on and don’t waste the ingredients 4. trust your gut if the recipe seems weird, it probably is. These are hard lessons especially when you tend to be stubborn.
So caramel is an art. One has to get the sugar to melt so it will not be griddy when it cools. If it burns then the taste is horrible. If you do one thing wrong it could seize. It can just be a mess. Yet it is easy to clean if you do mess up. Just use hot water! It may take a while for it to melt, but it will just be patient.
This is one of the posts that I wish I had taken pictures step by step, but I am horrible at taking pictures and remembering to take them. So look around on the web and you will see what it looks like at each step.

Make sure you put a little bit of light corn syrup in the sugar and water. The syrup helps make sure the caramel wont seize. Also make sure the pot is a lot bigger then you think you need. When you add the cream, the recipe boils up. Also, be super careful!!! Hot sugar burns worse than most burns and it is bad!


Salted Caramel

2½ cups sugar
2/3 cup water
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
¾ cup heavy cream, room temp
2¼ tsp. sea salt, preferably fleur de sel


Combine the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan (especially if you have never made caramel before).  Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar has melted into a syrup.  Stop stirring and gently swirl the pan every once in a while.  Continue to boil, swirling occasionally, until the mixture is a deep amber color (but not burned!) and it registers about 340˚ F on the thermometer.  This a slow process and needs patience for it to turn colors so swirl only once in a while. Very slowly pour in the cream in a slow, steady stream and stir constantly until smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the salt.

Store in a mason jar.


Pumpkin Poppers!!! September 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elise @ 6:54 pm

So September 1st has passed which according to all restaurants means I can start cooking PUMPKIN!!!! If coffee places can start serving pumpkin well I will start cooking with pumpkin! 🙂 If you can’t tell, I am a pumpkin fan and love using it in baked goods. So when I saw on pinterest these pumpkin poppers, my sister and I couldn’t help but make them right away. So what are they like you ask…… Oh they are little balls of heaven. The first night we made them was for a group of guys who were participating in a fantasy football draft. Each guy looked at the poppers and questionably took a bite. Then each person made a very funny noise that let us know that they found these poppers delicious. I say each person, and I really mean each person. It was funny to watch. So I will be making these a lot. (I will be making them for the third time since I have tried this recipe this weekend!!!)

I will warn you that these are better the first day because they are not as messy. They are still very very good the next day but they become a little more wet and messy. It is because of the butter and sugar becoming a paste. You could probably make these and just wait to coat them until the day of. I do not have pictures yet, but I will try to remember to take them this weekend.


Pumpkin Poppers

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk

For Coating

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted (start with this you may need more )
  •  Sugar
  •  Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F and spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking soda,salt, and spices in a bowl and whisk until combine.

In another bowl, mix oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk.  Pour in flour mixture and mix until just combined.  Fill mini muffin tins until almost full and bake 10-12 minutes.

Melt butter in small bowl.  No measurements are given for the cinnamon and sugar because this various by taste. I like a ton of cinnamon on mine so I probably use 1/8 cup of cinnamon and 2/3 cup sugar. I say mix it up and taste because this gives you a great excuse to try one right away. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl.  After popper cool for a few minutes, roll them in the butter and roll them in the sugar mixture.

Eat them right away or let them sit out for a bit, either way they are great!


Epic Fail

Filed under: Ideas behind life — Elise @ 3:07 pm

So I really failed on the three or four day challenge that I was going to blog for several days straight. It was the summer and man it was super busy.  I have been baking though. I have really been blowing it up in the kitchen. My sister and I have felt that we should make something delicious every weekend!!! This is very hard on us trying to maintain our girly figure. With pinterest filling our heads with such lovely treats to dream about we are never running out of ideas of what to make. We have found some awesome recipes and are continuously asked to make more of. We have found recipes that were gross and ended up getting thrown out before the party even started. Then we found recipes that were okay, and may be used if we need something pretty or easy but not trying to make a delicious statement.

Recipes to look for: Pumpkin Poppers, meat pockets, making a cake box delicious, Salted Caramel, homemade chocolate cake, and zucchini bread
Recipes that did not make the cut: guacamole deviled eggs (just weird and gross looking), a buffalo chicken dip (the recipe I used was not good, but I know there are delicious one out there), oreo cream cheese cookies, and roasted okra ( will make again but have to work on this recipe too).

So these are just some of the things I remember making this wonderful summer! Now that school is back in session and I have a lot more order in my life, I will make sure that I will let you know about all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things coming out of my kitchen (or my sisters kitchen 🙂 )


Where have I been….. June 26, 2012

Filed under: Ideas behind life — Elise @ 2:44 am

I realize that it has been forever since I have posted here. I can’t believe that my last time to write was in April. Well don’t worry I have been cooking, but I have been with my family, I have been studying, and I have just not been around a computer. I finished finals in mid-May. I had the best semester yet!!! My dad got married!!! I have been spending as much time as I can with my sister and my nephew! It has been a great few months!!! Enough about what I am doing, and more about food and my experiments!!!!

I have been baking! I have found one of the best chocolate chip cookie (CCC) recipes ever!!!! I have found an awesome recipe for home-made bread that is super easy and awesome! I ate pheasant and turned the leftovers into awesome pizza! I brought back Ritz Cracker Pie for Memorial day.

So my plan is to write a post the next few days to get the bread recipe out and the CCC recipe!

My dinner making has been slacking. I have only done a few because I have lost a bit of my momentum to cook a full meal when I know I will have to eat it for the rest of the week. So I have had a lot of cereal and frozen food when I am home. I have made a few things like a pulled pork hash which was awesome! It was left over pulled pork, roasted potatoes, onions, and a fried egg on top! It was great! I have also made great sweet garlic chicken which was very different but delicious. Then I have been about making my own salad dressing which is easy and great. It is sauted onions and garlic then boil some vinegar (usually use apple cider) to get rid of the harsh vinegar and mixing a little mustard and olive oil with it. Easy healthy and delicious!

Well, stay tuned because there is more this week!


Monkey bread with a twist!!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Elise @ 2:18 am

So everyone likes monkey bread! This is a fact and if you have not had it you should because it is just cinnamon and sugar and buttery goodness! It is delicious! Normally one uses  biscuits and rolls them in cinnamon and sugar and put them in a bundt pan and then pours a whole lot of butter all over it. Then you bake it and it carmalizes and is gooey and amazing! Well I put my own spin on the recipe!

I had cinnamon rolls that needed to be used. It was a full 8 roll can and that is just a lot of cinnamon rolls for one person. I never had company over in the morning who wanted to eat them. So I used them in MONKEY BREAD!!!! That is right I used already coated bread and coated it even more and poured butter all over it. Delicious! So if you want to throw a huge spin on your breakfast and surprise someone do this!!!! It is awesome!!!

What makes it even better was these cinnamon rolls had not normal icing, but CHOCOLATE icing!!!! So of course when they came out of the oven I poured the icing all over them!!!! Regular icing would be good as well, but chocolate was pretty sweet! 🙂 So really I see no reason to not make this again and no reason for you not to make it.

Twisted Monkey Bread

  • 1 can of Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1/2 stick to a full stick of butter melted
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/8 cup of cinnamon (this is a huge guess … sorry I dont measure cinnamon)
  • ziplock baggie
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cut the cinnamon rolls in quarters.
  3. In the ziplock bag put the sugar and the cinnamon.
  4. Put a good handful of the dough in the baggie and shake.
  5. Place dough balls in bundt pan so that it covers the bottom of the pan
  6. Continue this until all the rolls are in the pan then pour the melted butter evenly over all the rolls.
  7. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. May let it cool for about 15 minutes before flipping the pan on a plate. If you are brave eat while hot at your own risk! But so much better the warmer it is! You can pour the icing on it after you have flipped it out of the bundt cake.

Easter Dessert!!! April 9, 2012

Filed under: Delicious Baked Goods — Elise @ 2:56 am

So I know everyone is super curious to find out what crazy experiment I made for Easter! I made PINK LEMONADE CAKE!!!!! I have been wanting to make this for about a year now. I had seen Paula make it with a box mix and it looked spectacular. I love lemonade. Last summer my sister was pregnant and she craved lemonade so I thought it would be perfect, but I never got around to making it. So I asked her earlier this week what I should make, and she said lemonade cake. So I finally made it!!!

I did not use Paula’s recipe however because I like to make things hard. lol. So I found a cooking light recipe (actually my sister gave it to me) and I decided to use it. I read the reviews however and the major complaint with the cake was that it was too dense. This sounded weird to me because the recipe had 2 egg whites in it and usually egg whites can be used to make the batter light and fluffy. Well I decided I would tweak the recipe to try to make it lighter. I added an egg white and I beat the egg whites until they were stiff and folded them into the batter.  It did not work. 😦 The cake was extremely dense and I think it is because it contains buttermilk. (I thought about this when I originally made the recipe but beating the egg whites seemed like an easier solution.) The cake however is delicious and I expected it to be kind of dense so I was not disappointed by the consistency. Everyone loved it and it is a great summer cake!

The frosting was also a fun mess up. I had not decided which type of frosting I was going to make when I was at the store. I bought the ingredients for both butter cream and cream cheese. However, I bought fat free cream cheese. I do not know why in the world they make fat free cream cheese. Maybe so suckers like me can buy it and realize it doesn’t work with cooking and have to buy a second package. So double the money? Really fat free cream cheese has such a weird constancy that it can not be used for baking or cooking. Don’t do it. Don’t buy it. Just enjoy the fat!

So back t the frosting story. I originally made butter cream, but I found it to be too sweet and so I added just a little of my fat free cream cheese. It ruined the whole batch of frosting because it kind of curdled and balled up. It just looked super weird! So I went back to the store for another lemon and more cream cheese. The second time I made just a regular cream cheese frosting that was freaking delicious!!! So the cake was sweet but not that sweet! Completely recommend the cream cheese frosting with this cake.

I was a little bored that night and went ahead and decorated the cake with an Easter theme. I hope you make this cake! It is really good and I wish I would have made it sooner.

Pink Lemonade Cake


  • Cake:
  • 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Lemon zest (I used close to a whole lemon)
  • 3 tablespoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • Red food coloring


  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • Lemon zest (I used a whole lemon)
  • Fresh lemon juice (from the lemon I zested)
  • 2 teaspoons thawed pink lemonade concentrate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • Around 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour cake pans. (I used 8×8 square pans because that is all I had and they worked great because the cake does not rise that much.)
  2. Measure out and combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs (not the egg whites) 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture. Beat well after each addition. Add the food coloring as desired and mix.
  5. In a separate bowl (metal bowl works best), beat the egg whites until stiff and they form peaks. (Make sure your beaters are clean and dry for this step.) Put about 1/3 of the egg whites in the batter and mix in to lighten it up. Then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. (I really don’t know what the difference is with the step or if just adding the egg whites with the egg is fine, but this is what I did.)
  6. Pour batter into 2 pans; sharply tap pans once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (Really 20 minutes too! I thought it would be a little longer and it was not.) Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack. (The cake is slightly sticky so make sure it is a wire rack and not a plate.)
  7. To prepare frosting, add all the ingredients except the powdered sugar (2 tablespoons butter through cream cheese) in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until fluffy. Add powdered sugar, and beat at low speed just until blended (do not overbeat). I do not add all the sugar at one time. Instead I pour a good amount and then taste it. If I think it needs more I add and mix and taste again. This is how you can make it as sweet as you like it! (Chilling the frosting will make it easier to frost and decorate, but if you don’t have time it is okay.)
  8. Frost cake.
  9. Devour!