My version of the Hersey's Black Out Candy Bar Cake...

As I have probably mentioned, I am a far cry from a "baker." When the urge strikes to bake I do what I do when I need inspiration for home decor...I hit the internet.

I found this AMAZING cake recipe here...and while it may appear somewhat intimidating, I promise, if I can do it, you can do it! (I won't post the entire recipe...just follow the link!)

My daughter-in-law, Taylor, is our "special needs" child! We jokingly call her that because she has to be gluten-free for health reasons, so I have had to make several adjustments to my cooking and baking routine during our weekly Sunday dinners. 

The only REAL adjustment has been the use of gluten free flour (I order this from Amazon...a tad more expensive than regular flour but she is worth it!) Not a huge deal but I have found that it tastes a tad "different" than regular flour in most baked goods so I try to find recipes with lots of sugar and chocolate and not as much flour.

This cake fit the bill! Tons of sugar and chocolate and honestly, I think you could smear chocolate butter cream icing on a rock and it would taste good! Add in the layer of chocolate cheese cake and you have a winner in our house!

This is my cake...

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Obviously my presentation is not near as "perfect" as Danielle's, but trust me it tastes just as good!

OH MY GOSH!!!! Seriously, this cake really is amazing!

If you don't have to worry about the gluten issue, you could even use a box cake.

That being said, I don't think you can buy an icing that is as rich and delicious as homemade buttercream icing. And you can make buttercream any flavor you like...vanilla, lemon, chocolate, peanut butter...the options are endless and the homemade icing takes your cake to a whole new level of amazing!

Not a simple recipe, but definitely one you want to put on the menu for your next family gathering!

Strawberry cake...

Matt’s girlfriend, Hannah, found out last week she got the job she wanted at a new school!

YIPPEE! A reason to celebrate!

We asked her what her favorite cake is…strawberry.

Hum…my Grandmother’s Lemon Cake is TOO DIE FOR and I got to thinking…why couldn’t I substitute strawberry cake for the yellow cake and strawberry jello for the lemon jello and make a strawberry cake TOO DIE FOR…and guess what…I did and IT WAS AMAZING!!!! (less the lemon/powdered sugar “glaze”)

I found a recipe for strawberry butter cream icing

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 cup butter, softened

3 1⁄2 cup powdered sugar, sifted, divided

1 tsp vanilla extract

Place strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth. (Strain to remove the seeds, if desired.) Transfer strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often, until the puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Beat butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until light and fluffy. Beat 1 cup powdered sugar into the butter until just blended.

Beat 2 tablespoons strawberry puree and vanilla extract into the butter mixture until just combined. Repeat with 1 cup powdered sugar, followed by 2 tablespoons strawberry puree 2 more times. Beat the last 1/2 cup powdered sugar into the frosting until just blended.

Butter cream icing is my favorite…whether vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, strawberry…SO much better than the store bought stuff!

Chocolate covered strawberries…a treat all on it’s own especially this time of year when strawberries are in season.

I have a “gluten free” daughter in law so it is one of our favorites.

I use Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chips…but there is a trick to melting it! Microwave 1/2 bag in a glass bowl for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave again for 30 seconds and stir again…keep doing this until the chocolate is melted. Usually 3-4 30 second rounds. It is important to do this slowly and carefully or you will end up with a chalky wad of chocolate that I haven’t found a way to salvage.

After the chocolate is melted, I dip the strawberries (washed and dried)` in the chocolate and lay them on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper…then refrigerate until the chocolate is firm again…usually a few hours.

I had a little bit of chocolate left over so I spread it on parchment paper, let it harden in the fridge and then broke it into “shards.”

Another super simple dessert that is TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!

I am mulling over all the possibilities now for jello infused cake…Blueberry? Cherry? Pineapple?

The possibilities are endless!!!!