Cookies and Cream Oreo Chocolate Cake

Cookies and cream cake is one of the favorites to make, and one of the most requested cakes by friends and family.   So, I was surprised when I realized last week that this fabulous cake somehow never made it on my blog.

One of the great things about this cake is you can vary the type of chocolate cake you use depending on what you have on hand in the kitchen.  This time I used Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake, but I have also made it with buttermilk devils food when I have had extra buttermilk in the house to use up.  Either way, you will get great results.  

But the best part of this cake is the cookies and cream filling!   And the extra filling on top will make sure there is plenty of filling for every bite of the cake. If you make this cake, it will go quick!

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9 inch cake pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Fill the prepared pans with batter. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely.

Cookies and Cream Frosting
2 Cups Whipping Cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
One Dozen Oreos Crushed
3 Oreos Halved for Garnish

Combine cream, sugar and vanilla in a bowl.   Beat with a whisk attachment for 5 minutes until stiff peaks form.   Fold in crushed Oreos.     Frost cooled cupcakes.   Garnish with Oreo halves.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

2/3 cup  Hershey's cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla. About 2 cups frosting.

To assemble, place one of the cooled cakes on a cake circle.   Pipe a ring of chocolate frosting around the cake.  Fill the area inside the ring with the two-thirds of the cookies and cream filling.   Place the other cake on top of the filling. Frost the cake with the chocolate frosting.  Create a decorative boarder as desired.   Fill the area inside the border with chocolate frosting.  Garnish with Oreo halves.

Source: Annie's Eats

White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

I know it's been a while since my last post.   Unfortunately the norvo virus swept through the Pink Apron family and work has been on the busy side this month, leaving little time for baking.  

Before the nasty norvo virus infected my house I was able to make a batch of cookies.  I am normally not a white chocolate fan, but I loved these cookies.   For some reason white chocolate and cranberries blend together perfectly.  And I'm not sure if it's its the browned butter or that the cranberries marinate in the eggs and vanilla before being added to the dough, but the flavor has a lot of depth and complexity.   I know that two table spoons of cinnamon seems like a lot, but it wasn't overpowering at all (and your kitchen will smell amazing while these are baking).

I promise there won't be as long of hiatus before my next post.  I have lots of baking projects lined up in the next few weeks.

2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1-½ cup Dried Cranberries
½ cups Unsalted Butter, Browned
½ cups Unsalted Butter, Softened
¾ cups Sugar
¾ cups Light Brown Sugar
1-½ cup All-purpose Flour, Unbleached
1-½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
½ teaspoons Ground Ginger
¼ teaspoons Ground Cloves
3-¼ cups Oats
12 oz white chocolate chips

Beat eggs and vanilla in a small mixing bowl, add dried cranberries. Allow cranberries to rehydrate for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Do not skip this step! Brown 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cool in the refrigerator while you wait for the cranberries to finish plumping up.

Preheat oven to 350 F Cream butters and sugars with mixer, stand mixer is best as you should cream for about 2-3 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, kosher salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. Slowly add your dry ingredients into your cream mixture, scraping sides of bowl as needed, making sure there are no dry patches, but do not over mix. Add in your egg/cranberry mixture, mix on low until just combined. Using a wooden spoon, mix in oats, combining well. Fold in your chocolate and nuts. Refrigerate your dough for about 5-10 minutes

Spoon small-medium sized balls onto wax paper covered cookie sheets. Bake cookies for approximately 12 minutes, turning once during cooking. Cookies are done when they are light brown and begin to lose their glossy look. I recommend baking them 1 sheet at a time! Allow to cool for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire wrack.

Golden Dome Cupcakes

Two of my favorite people fell in love under the golden dome of the Massachusetts State House.  Now they are married and expecting a baby boy.  In honor the where they first met (and still currently work)  my dear friends requested golden dome cupcakes for baby shower favors.

I used a buttermilk devils food recipe for the cupcake.  I like this recipe because it has the rich chocolate flavor but the buttermilk also keeps it moist.  I topped the cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream, and added golden sprinkles to complete the golden dome look. 

The Massachusetts State House which inspired these cupcakes!

Devil Food Cupcakes
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup boiling water

In a mixing bowl, cream butter with sugar and vanilla, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture, alternating with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Add boiling water; beat until smooth. Pour batter into muffin tins lined with cupcake liners. Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Vanilla Buttercream
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. 

Baby Boy Onesie Cookies

There seems to be a boom of baby boys amongst my friends.  Two friends are preparing to deliver baby boys in the near future, and another friend had a beautiful boy in the fall.  (She had a Disney themed shower!)

One of the expectant couples met at their workplace (which happens to also be my workplace).   The future parents are literally like the Angelina and Brad of the building. Everyone at work is very excited for this baby and once word got out that a baby was on its way, I started getting questions about when the shower would be.

With a guest list over 150, I could not not throw the shower alone.  I needed help and needed people to pitch in.  This shower also was in the middle of December so my schedule was also packed with holiday baking as well.  Fortunately, everyone offered to bring/make something and the shower ended up coming together seamlessly!

I made baby onesie cookies for the shower.   Because I had to make so many cookies I wanted to keep the design simple.


First I outlined the cookies using a #4 tip.    Then I flooded the cookies with the blue icing.   The cookies then had to dry overnight.

Once the cookies were dry I added the outlines of onesie with a #2 tip and made a pink heart with a #3 tip.

I love the simple look of these onesies.   The one problem was that the blue frosting turned people's mouths blue.  But no one seemed to mind too much since the cookies tasted so good.   

(One of my favorite gifts!  Yeah, we're a liberal group!)

Sugar Cookies
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream sugar and butter until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients in separate bowl and add to butter mixture. Mix well. Put a handful of the freshly made dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll to desired thickness. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Put the rolled dough, including the parchment paper, on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 10 minutes or longer. Your dough will be chilled and ready to cut and bake with now wait and no added flour! Repeat with scraps after cutting cookies. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 -10 minutes. Let cool.

Royal Icing
3 tablespoons Meringue Powder

4 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
6 tablespoons warm water
Beat all ingredients until icing forms a peak (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

Source: Wilton

Eggnog Tiramisu Trifle

Eggnog was an ingredient I used a lot this holiday season.   Between the egg nog cookies, rum cake, and the tiramisu it was certainly a theme.  But none of these desserts felt repetitive or tasted similar.   They were all so different that it made me realize how versatile egg nog is.   

I love tiramisu so the idea of using egg nog to make tiramisu was very appealing to me.   The custard alone tasted amazing.   Overall I really liked this dessert, but some people felt that there was too much liquor in it.  I am personally a big kahula fan so I didn't think that it had too much alcohol, but a lot of my family did. If I was to make this again, I would probably cut back on the amount of liquor (depending on who I was serving it to).

This was also a great dish to make ahead since its best when it sits overnight (not just a few hours) and I was able  to make it while the cheesecake was in the oven.  I made the layers and assembled it quickly the morning of Christmas Eve after making the Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake.

Make sure you use the authentic italian lady fingers that are crispy, not the soft ones.   You can find them in most specialty food stores.  I'm lucky that I can get them very easily in the Boston area.

Eggnog Tiramisu Trifle
1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon dark rum
4 tablespoons brandy
12 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 8-ounce containers mascarpone cheese*

2 cups chilled whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
7 tablespoons KahlĂșa or other coffee liqueur
60 crisp ladyfinger cookies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, finely ground in processor

Whisk 1 1/3 cups sugar, 1/4 cup water, 1/4 cup rum, 3 tablespoons brandy, yolks, and nutmeg in metal bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water (do not allow bottom of bowl to touch water). Whisk constantly until mixture thickens and candy thermometer inserted into mixture registers 140°F for 3 minutes, about 5 minutes total. Remove bowl from over water. Whisk mascarpone, 1 container at a time, into warm custard until blended.

Using electric mixer, beat whipping cream, vanilla, 1 tablespoon brandy, and 1 teaspoon rum in large bowl until cream holds peaks. Fold in mascarpone mixture.

Bring 1 cup water to simmer in small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and espresso powder; stir to dissolve. Mix in liqueur. Submerge 1 biscuit in espresso mixture, turning to coat twice; shake excess liquid back into pan. Place dipped biscuit, sugared side facing out, around bottom side of 14-cup trifle dish, pressing against side of dish (biscuit may break). Repeat with enough biscuits to go around bottom sides of dish once. Dip more biscuits and arrange over bottom of dish to cover.

Spoon 2 cups mascarpone mixture over biscuits; spread to cover. Sprinkle 1/4 cup ground chocolate over, making chocolate visible at sides of dish. Repeat with more biscuits dipped into espresso mixture, mascarpone mixture, and ground chocolate in 2 more layers each. Cover with 1 more layer of dipped biscuits and enough mascarpone mixture to reach top of trifle dish. Sprinkle remaining ground chocolate over, covering completely. Cover and chill overnight.

Adapted From: Epicurious

Brownie Mosaic Cheesecake

As I started making decisions on what to make for Christmas Day, Mr. Apron had one question: where's the chocolate?

I didn't want to do a chocolate cake or cupcakes...I always do cakes and cupcakes.   I also needed to make something I could easily make the morning of Christmas Eve because I would have no time for baking after that.   I remembered seeing a brownie cheesecake a while ago on another foodie blog, and after looking that recipe over again I knew I found my chocolate dessert for Christmas Day.

The results of this cheesecake was absolutely delicious!  And my family agreed.  I'm not sure if any cake was left by the end of Christmas.  It's creamy, chocolaty and has a fantastic crust.   Since the cheesecake itself isn't chocolate, the cake isn't too chocolaty. 

I made the brownies a head of time, so I would have less to do when I had to make and cook the cheesecake.  Since the brownies need to be cool for cutting I would recommend making the brownies a day ahead so you do not have to wait around waiting for the brownies to finish in order to bake the cheesecake.

Part One: One Bowl Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Grease foil.

Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on high for 2 minutes, or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; mix well. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minute or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in pan on wire rack. Remove brownies from pan, using foil handles.

Cool brownies, then cut them into 3/4- to 1-inch squares for use in the cheesecake. You will have more than the two cups of cubes, loosely measured, than you will need, and I’m sorry, you’re just going to have to decide for yourself what to do with the extra. Add cubes to cake batter as directed below.

Part Two: Crumb Crust
3 cups finely ground cookies such as chocolate wafers. Or Chocolate Teddy Grahams
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of a buttered 24-centimeter springform pan. Fill right away or chill up to 2 hours.

Part Three: Cheesecake
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 cups brownie cubs (from recipe above)

Make crumb crust as directed above for 24-centimeter cheesecake. Preheat oven to 350°F.

Make filling and bake cake: Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy and add eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla and sugar, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated and scraping down bowl between additions.

Fold brownie cubes in very gently and pour mixture into prepared pan. Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan. Pour filling into crust and bake in baking pan (to catch drips) in middle of oven 45 minutes, or until cake is set 3 inches from edge but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken.

When completely cool, top with following glaze.

Part Four: Ganache Glaze
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken up, or 1/2 cup chocolate morsels
2 ounces butter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

Grind the chocolate into powder in the food processor, scald the butter and cream in a saucepan. With the machine running, pour the hot cream/butter mixture slowly through the feed tube onto the chocolate. Blend until completely smooth, stopping machine to scrape down sides once or twice. Add the extract and sugar and process until smooth. Spread over cheesecake while ganache is still warm. Chill until ready to serve.

Source: Smitten Kitchen