Is there a German chocolate cake fan in your family? Making an entire cake can be an overwhelming endeavor, especially for pint-sized cooks. Easy solution? Make German chocolate cake in a cup.
Ever since we made mini chocolate raspberry chocolate cups, we’ve been trying out other combos. This one has become a fast favorite. I’ve included lots of make-it-quick steps in the directions.
1 recipe chocolate cake mix
1 recipe coconut dream frosting (or packaged German chocolate frosting)
1 cup chocolate syrup
Whipped cream or ice cream
Toasted coconut (opt.)
You’ll also need:
Mini glasses (plastic mini champagne glasses work well, too)
- Cook the cake according to package directions. You could also use leftover brownies, or bake up a batch. (You will have extra cake.)
- Place a handful of cake into the bottom of all the cups, press it down to make about 1-inch. This is a perfect kid job!
- Drizzle the cake with chocolate syrup (Hershey’s is fine; even better melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips with 1/4 heavy cream in the microwave and let it sit until thickened).
- Add a heaping spoonful of coconut dream frosting into each cup.
- Put another inch of cake into each cup and repeat the process–drizzle chocolate, then add frosting.
- You have a few options for the top of the cup–whipped cream or a small scoop of ice cream. My recommendation: finish it off with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in salty caramel. Sprinkle each cup with toasted coconut flakes.
Almost German chocolate cake frosting, but not quite. That’s how I like to describe my coconut frosting.
Softer and creamier than your standard, sticky German chocolate, toasting the coconut and the pecans is the real secret (well, that and a generous helping of heavy cream).
Tweaked from 365 Great Chocolate Desserts
2 1/2 cups coconut
2 cups pecans, chopped
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
Dash of salt
- Place the coconut and nuts onto a nonstick skillet (or if the skillet isn’t big enough work in batches). Bring the skillet to medium-high heat, stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon occasionally to avoid burning, about 3 minutes. As soon as the coconut begins to turn color on the ends, remove from heat. Allow the coconut to cool on the pan–it will continue to toast as it cools.
- Mix together the powdered sugar and cornstarch and then pour into a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
- Whisk the heavy cream into the powder sugar mixture until blended; bring the cream to medium-high heat, whisking vigorously.
- When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from heat.
- Stir in the toasted coconut and pecans.
- Cool to room temperature before using to frost cakes, cupcakes, or for mini-parfaits.
Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how to use this yummy frosting to make mini German chocolate parfaits that are perfect for Mother’s Day.
This past weekend my parents were in town so of course we needed to make something fun in the kitchen. The idea? Pepperoni pizza cake. I hunted down some ideas online, like this pizza cake recipe from Serious Eats. For my version, I wanted to try to make it look a little more realistic.
The cake ended up being simple to make–and a crowd pleaser.
Step #1: Bake a yellow cake mix in a 10″ spring form pan.
Step #2: Place the cake in the fridge to cool and to become firm. Use a serrated knife to trim off the top part of the cake. Make sure to leave the edge untouched to look like a pizza crust.
Step #3: Spread raspberry or strawberry jam over the inside of the cake, working out toward the edge of the cake, but leaving a 1″ crust.
Step #4: Sprinkle shredded coconut over the pizza to look like mozzarella cheese.
Step #5: Create “pepperoni” from berry fruit leather. You can use a cup to make the pepperoni shape. We actually emptied a salt container to make our pepperoni.
Step #6: Serve your pizza cake in a pizza box.
Don’t forget the the Great Mother’s Day Giveaway is underway. Enter today for your chance to win!
My kids know that I like to “fancify” meals. I’m sure there’s some sort of French word for our made up one. The idea: to present your food in a fun way. Make it a little fancy. Our fancifying comes from different places: sometimes we try making something we ate at restaurant, sometimes it’s a creative way to get my kids to try something new. But this time, it was all about using up an ingredient I didn’t want to go bad in the fridge.
I made Asian Mex avocado egg rolls earlier this week so I still have a few wrappers on hand. So when I was making a stir fry the other day, I wanted a cool way to put the rice on the plate–enter the egg roll bowl. I found a recipe for mini morning quiches from Nasoya, which I still want to try, but I thought I could use the same technique. These bowls were so simple and fun to make my kids kept brainstorming during dinner other ways we could fill them. I’m thinking a dessert egg roll bowl would be good–wouldn’t it? Maybe a bananas foster egg roll bowl…
Servings: As many as you want!
Prep time: 10 minutes + baking for 10
Large egg roll wrappers (Nasoya wonton wrappers work well)
Fillings–let your kids decide
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Spray the underside of your muffin pan with cooking oil.
- Working with one wrapper at a time, drape the egg roll over the inverted muffin cup to form a cup. For folds, I brushed a little water on the wrapper to help them stick together when baking.
- Bake for 5-8 minutes. Watch carefully! These bowls will burn easily.
- Gently pop the bowls off of the muffin pan.
My tween has been on a pistachio kick lately. And I’ve been encouraging it. She shuns peanuts and peanut butter–a childhood staple for me. So if pistachios are the closest thing I can get her to like besides peanuts, I’ll take it. With all the extra pistachios around, I’ve been putting them in just about everything, spinach pesto last week and salsa now.
Servings: 2- 2 1/2 cups
Prep time: 20 minutes
7 guajillo chiles (dried)
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1/2 serrano pepper
1/2 clove garlic (or throw in the whole thing if you’re a garlic lover)
1/4 cup pistachios (roasted, shelled)
1 26-oz can whole tomatillos, drained (or 6-8 fresh tomatillos)
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice or white vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Salt to taste
- Cut the ends off of the guajillo chiles and remove as many of the seeds as possible.
- Bring a non-stick or cast-iron pan to medium-high heat. Place the chiles and onion wedges on the pan just until fragrant, about 2 minutes. You’ll notice that the chile skin becomes softer as it’s toasted. Watch the chiles carefully; they burn easily.
- Fill a large mixing bowl with hot water. Put the chiles and onion into the water while preparing the other ingredients (about 5 minutes).
- Cut the top off of the serrano chile and then cut it lengthwise. Carefully remove the seeds and ribs (you might want to wear gloves).
- In a blender, process the tomatillos, chiles, onion, cumin, lime juice, serrano, garlic, pistachios, and salt until smooth.
Plenty of uses beyond chip dipping:
- Saute chicken with the salsa
- Mix salsa and ranch dressing for salad
- Make quesadillas with cheese and salsa tucked inside the flour tortillas
In February, we went to New Year’s celebration at our favorite Chinese restaurant and I’ve had avocado egg rolls on the brain ever since. I wasn’t expecting to like warm avocado–let alone the green, creamy vegetable smeared into an egg roll wrapper, then fried. But hey, it was the special so we had to try them out. Avocado egg rolls rock!
For my version, I wanted to add in a dash of Mexican flavor–and spice. These egg rolls were easy to make and fried up beautifully.
Servings: 12 egg rolls
Prep time: 30 minutes
3 ripe avocados
1/2 white onion, diced small
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced small (opt.)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 serrano pepper, diced (opt.)
Salt to taste
12 egg roll wrappers
Oil for frying
Juice from 1 orange
1 tablespoon vinegar (I used orange vinegar, you could use any light vinegar, like white)
1 tsp. agave syrup
1/2 serrano pepper sliced in rings
2 green onions, white and green parts sliced into rings
Pinch of salt
- Mix together avocado, onion, serrano pepper, red pepper, cumin, garlic powder, and salt.
- Place about 1 1/2 tbsps. avocado mixture diagonally in the middle of one egg roll wrapper.
- Fold one corner of the egg roll toward the middle of the avocado mixture. Then fold the sides of the wrapper in toward the avocado mixture.
- Starting the place of your first corner fold, roll the egg roll toward the last end (dab that corner with water so the end sticks). You can follow the egg roll instructions here, too.
- Roll the remaining egg rolls.
- Fill a wok with about 1 1/2″ frying oil. Bring the oil to medium-high heat.
- Fry the egg rolls three at a time about 2-3 minutes a piece until golden.
- Drain on paper towels.
- To make the sauce: Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together.
- Serve hot.
Kids’ reactions: Big favorite with the teen. My youngest who has declared she “doesn’t like avocados” tried this recipe and liked it. She didn’t ask for seconds, but it’s a start. My tween tried a bit of her avocado egg roll and politely left the rest there.
Traditional gyros require hours of time and special equipment. Anyone have a vertical broiler handy? Yeah, me neither. Instead, I fake it with chicken marinated in Greek dressing. The better the dressing you can find, the better your gyros–Matsos is my favorite. If I have time, I’ll also grill the chicken breasts whole. But if I need dinner in a hurry, I’ll cut them into thin strips for fast cooking on the stove top.
Prep time: 30 minutes + marinating time
4 chicken breasts
1/2 cup Greek salad dressing
4-6 good pitas
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 fresh lemon
1 tomato, sliced in wedges
1/2 white onion, in slices
2 Tbsps. olive oil
Thinly sliced cucumbers (opt.)
- Cut the chicken breasts into thin strips and marinate in the Greek dressing at least 30 minutes. (I usually put the chicken strips in the marinade in the morning so there’s one less step come dinner time.)
- In a large saute pan, bring the olive oil to medium-high heat. Add the chicken strips and cook through. Squeeze the juice from 1/2 a lemon at the end of cooking along with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl stir together the Greek yogurt and garlic cloves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. I also like to add in some cayenne pepper. Mr. Squid adds a little bit of extra Greek dressing too–I like to keep mine with just a garlic zing.
- Warm up the pita bread in the microwave or on a heated nonstick pan.
- Prepare each pita by slathering it with Greek yogurt dressing, then add chicken strips, 2 tomato wedges, a few onion slices, and a bit of feta cheese (and cucumbers if you’re using them).
This Easter my kids are going to be taking care of breakfast. And yours can too with these easy ideas and recipes:
Yeasted waffles: Let your kiddos mix up the batter and use the waffle iron.
Mini quiches: Encourage your kids to make their own mixins’ like broccoli, cheese, tomatoes, and more.
Mini bread: Yeah, I’m on a mini-streak, but kids love to make things that are their size.
Break out the cookie cutters: Deck out your brunch with cheese, thinly sliced veggies, bread, and other little goodies your kids create.
Appoint a fruit salad crew: My youngest loves to make fruit salads. It doesn’t need to be exotic fruits–apples, bananas, and oranges do just fine.
It’s 3.14–yes, Pi day! My tween needed to make a pie to take into her class so we brainstormed something that included some of her favorite ingredients: Nutella, pears, and white chocolate. Since the pie is headed to school, I, of course, had to make one for us to sample at home (sans the white chocolate and speckled with pecans and cranberries instead).
I tweaked this recipe from The Lovely Cupboard for my version.
Prep time: 20 minutes + 20 minutes baking
Servings: 8 pieces
1 unbaked pie shell
2 pears (apples would work well too)
3 tablespoons Apricot perserves
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup Nutella (or more!)
Toppings: white chocolate chips, pecans, cranberries
- Place the unbaked pie dough into your pie or tart pan and press around the edges and up the sides to create the crust. Prick the crust with a fork a few times.
- Spread the Nutella over the bottom of the unbaked pie crust. This took more time than I thought it would–Nutella is sticky!
- Put the pie crust into the fridge while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
- Peel and slice the pears into thin pieces.
- Take the pie crust out of the fridge and layer the pears onto the Nutella.
- Mix the lemon juice in the preserves and warm in the microwave. I heated it for 30 seconds on high. Use a cooking brush (or spoon) to spread the preserves over the pears.
- Sprinkle the pears with topping, if using.
Kids’ reactions: The tart without the white chocolate chips was definitely the frontrunner versus the pie. My kids preferred the thinner crust too. I think next time I’d toss the pears in the marmalade and lemon juice before putting them on the pie to minimize the amount of liquid on day two.
Maybe it’s from watching one too many episodes of Popeye growing up, but I love spinach. I try to eat at least a little spinach every day, whether it’s a simple salad, sauteed with pasta, or in smoothies.
So the other day when I was hankering for some summertime flavors, I decided to use some baby spinach as a stand in for part of the basil in a pesto recipe I ran across in Lidia’s Italy in America cookbook. Sure, I mixed in some basil, but the spinach gave the pesto just the right consistency and bright shade of green. As Lidia suggested, I mixed the pesto in with my pasta. We used the extra as a dip for the bread. Next time, I’d skip the pasta and just serve the pesto with the bread. I was literally scrapping the bowl of the food processor with bread to get every last drop–it was that good.
Getting kids to try it tips:
- My youngest will eat just about anything if it’s dippable. She gave the pesto rave reviews.
- My tween isn’t a spinach fan. So I thought I might tempt her to give it a try if I mixed it with something she does like–pistachios. She tried the pesto, said it was, “Okay,” and left the rest untouched on her plate (uh, I ate it later;). She didn’t like it this time, but she was at least willing to give it a try, especially when she knew something she liked was in the mix.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Servings: About 1 cup
1 1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves (opt.)
1/4 cup pistachios
1-2 garlic cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (opt.)
2/3 cups olive oil
1 tsp. white vinegar (or fresh lemon juice or my preference, white balsamic vinegar)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor, pulse together the spinach, parsley, basil, garlic, and pistachios.
- Slowly pour in the olive oil. (In my Cuisinart, you can pour the liquid into the feed tube and it works perfectly.)
- Process the ingredients until smooth.
- Add in the pepper, if using, cheese, vinegar, and adjust the seasoning.