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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Orange Layer Cake with White Chocolate Frosting and Shavings

There is nothing like a family get-together and this past weekend we had one in celebration of my big brother's birthday!  I wanted to do something extra special for him as he is an extra-special guy!  I don't know why, but it struck me that I'd love to do an orange cake with white chocolate frosting and white chocolate shavings.   My frosting recipe was inspired by the new Philadelphia Indulgence White Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread, which I discovered when recently grocery shopping.  You'll find my method of making the chocolate shavings or curls really easy once you've done it.  Children of all ages just seemed to love this cake and I'm delighted to share it with you!

                                   A Really Sweet Way To Celebrate!

I adapted the recipe for the layers to orange cake layers (from Lucy M. Clark's 1-2-3-4 Cake in her Delightfully Southern Cookbook).


The 3-Layer Cake
  • Non-stick baking spray for pans
  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 c. all-purpose plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange extract
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened orange juice w/pulp
  • 1 TB orange zest

The Frosting
  • 2 lbs. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick), room temperature, cut into large cubes
  • 8 oz. tub Philadelphia Indulgence White Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread
  • 1/4 c. + l TB evaporated milk
  •  2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (6 oz) pkg. premium white chocolate baking squares (for shavings garnish on frosting)--optional
  • 2 tsp. orange zest (for garnish on frosting)

                             Any Way You Look At It...It's Delicious!


First Things First...The Shavings
  1. Though you only need about 4 oz. of chocolate, to simplify the process, melt the whole pkg. of white chocolate in a 1 qt. microwave-proof bowl for 30 seconds on high.  Stir and melt again for 30 seconds on high.  Stir until all the chocolate is melted.  
  2. Pour onto a parchment-lined small shallow pan, forming about a 1/4" layer with a spatula.  Refrigerate about 25 minutes, or until soft carefully so the chocolate does not get completely hard.  It should be somewhat giving when lightly pressed with your finger, without sticking to your finger. 
  3. Carefully turn the chocolate onto a parchment-lined cutting board.  Working close to a counter edge, run a vegetable peeler just deep enough to make about 1" shavings that will hold.  Flip your chocolate as necessary to make more shavings. (You can use this same process to make curls...just form curls from about 1" strips with the vegetable peeler as you run it across the chocolate.)
  4. Let the shavings harden on the counter before you use.  If you have extra shavings, you can store them in the refrigerator in an air-tight, plastic container.  Store extra chocolate block in the fridge or pantry in an air-tight plastic container or bag.

The Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Spray 3 ea.  9" cake pans with the non-stick baking spray.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then scrape the bowl.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each just until the egg color disappears and scrape the bowl again.
  5. Sift the flour with the salt and baking powder.
  6. Mix the vanilla with the milk.
  7. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk and vanilla mixture.
  8. Mix the orange extract with the orange juice and add to the batter.
  9. Stir the orange zest into the batter.  Scrape the bowl and give the batter one last quick mix.
  10. Pour the batter equally between the pans. (To achieve this, I weigh each pan with the batter and divide the batter as necessary until each filled pan weighs as close as possible to the same weight.)
  11. Bake about 25 minutes, or until light-golden brown and the layers spring back when lightly touched with the finger and a toothpick comes out clean.
  12. Cool in the pans about 30 minutes, then carefully turn out onto racks to finish cooling.

The Frosting
  1. If you have one, add a mixer shield to your mixer to avoid the powdered sugar flying.
  2. Beat the powdered sugar well with the butter, then beat in the white chocolate spread.
  3. Add the evaporated milk and vanilla and mix well.
  4. Divide and spread the icing between the layers, saving a good amount to frost the top and sides. (Do a thin layer of frosting initially on the outside and let set to avoid crumbs showing through the icing.)
  5. Finish icing the cake, then sprinkle the top and sides with the orange zest.  Randomly press, very lightly and with care, the white chocolate shavings into the frosting. Decorate the plate by placing any smaller extra shavings around the bottom of the cake.

Carefully guard your cake, as tempted hands will try to steal the chocolate shavings off your creation!  Enjoy!

                                May I Have Another Piece, Please!

Printable Recipe

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Chewy, Crunchy Oatmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate, Cherries and Toasted Almonds

Say you're my everything and I plan to keep you around a while with these delicious and healthy oatmeal cookies!  Loaded with cherries, almonds and dark chocolate, they'll devour every morsel of these thick, chewy and crunchy delights!  Surprise them with a couple for breakfast in bed on Valentine's...they'll feel so pampered!

                                         Dessert For Breakfast!
                                    Better Than a Five-Star Hotel!

Approx. 32 large cookies


  • 1 c. packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated white sugar
  • 3/4 c. butter, cut into large chunks
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 c. old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. unsifted all-purposed flour 
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 c. unsalted, dry-toasted, slivered almonds (available at Trader Joe's in an 8 oz. pkg.), coarsely chopped
  • 1 c. tart, dried cherries--broke apart with your fingers (can substitute dried cranberries)
  • 10 oz. bag dark chocolate morsels (1 c. for batter and remainder for drizzle)


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Beat the sugars and butter well and scrape the bowl.
  4. Add the water, egg and vanilla and mix well; scrape the bowl again.
  5. In a separate bowl, using a whisk or fork, combine well the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  6. Add the almonds, cherries and 1 c. of the chocolate morsels to the dry mixture and stir well with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  7. Incorporate well the dry mixture with the fruit, nuts and chocolate into the wet can use your electric mixer on a low speed. 
  8. Using an ice cream scoop, drop the batter onto the parchment-lined cookie sheets, about two inches apart each scoop.
  9. Bake approximately 16-18 minutes or until light-golden brown.
  10. Let stand on the pans about one minute.  Carefully slide the whole sheets of parchment paper with the cookies onto racks to cool.  Once cooled, carefully place the paper with the cookies back onto the cookie sheets.
  11. Melt the remaining chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl for about 45 seconds on medium-high (70%) power.  Stir well.  If not completely melted, return the chocolate to the microwave for another 10 to 15 seconds and stir well again.  Working quickly, use a whisk to drizzle the melted chocolate onto the cookies.  
  12. To set the chocolate, freeze the cookies on the cookie sheets for about 15 minutes or refrigerate them for about 30-45 minutes.  Store in an air-tight container.
Share your love on Valentine's with these scrumptious cookies, and you'll get lots of hugs and kisses for sure!  Enjoy!

 P. S.
                                           You're My Everything...

Printable Recipe