Tag Archives: dessert

Wacky Cake: No eggs, milk, butter, or bowl needed.

It’s my birthday week, so I thought I would share a birthday cake recipe!


I found out my baby was MSPI three weeks before my 30th birthday. I was so dejected at the prospect of not being able to have cake on my birthday. But just a week later, this recipe started making the rounds on social media. It has been a lifesaver for me. It won’t win any awards for Most Delicious Cake In The History Of Ever, but when you don’t have another option, it tastes like the best thing on Earth.

It’s called Wacky Cake, or Crazy Cake, or Depression Cake–because lore says it was popular during the Great Depression, when eggs and butter were scarce, and because you actually make depressions in the dry ingredients to add the liquid ones. It rises thanks to the exothermic reaction between vinegar and baking soda and makes a great experiment with your kids. This is a great option for people who can’t have eggs or dairy–and I’ve read that it works well with gluten-free flours as well.

There are a few ways to make it. All of the different options are listed at another blog, but here are the ones I’ve tried and tweaked: Chocolate, Vanilla, and single-serving Mug Cake versions of both. I’ll tell you right now the chocolate is definitely the better tasting, but for those who prefer it, the vanilla option is there. That’s what we did for my MSPI baby’s first birthday, because she hadn’t had chocolate yet. For her birthday party a few days later, I used the chocolate mug cake recipe to make an extra-small batch of cupcakes so that she could have her own dairy-free cupcake while everyone else ate carrot cake.

I’ve also got the recipes for chocolate fudge frosting and vanilla “butter”cream frosting. So this will be a long post, but hopefully a useful one!


Chocolate Wacky Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8-inch square or round pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in prepared pan (for round cake pan, mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour the batter into the pan). Make 3 depressions in the flour mixture with your thumb. Pour the vinegar in one, the vanilla in another, and the oil in the third (it will overflow). Pour the water over all of it. Mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Original recipe here

2-ingredient Chocolate Fudge Frosting 

Note: This is easy, but requires at least a day of advance planning.

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 bag Enjoy Life semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
  1. Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. Remove carefully from the fridge–DO NOT SHAKE–and carefully open. Spoon out the cream that has separated to the top into a saucepan. (You do not need the liquid “coconut water” underneath; save it to use in a smoothie later!)
  2. Add the chocolate chips to the saucepan. Melt them together over low heat, stirring frequently.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into a mixer bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight. (Usually I refrigerate overnight, then leave it on the counter for the morning to soften a little.)
  4. Whip it with a hand mixer or the whisk attachment on your stand mixer until smooth and creamy. It will be a thick, ganache-like consistency. Thin with nondairy milk if desired, but really, you don’t need to. Add a pinch of sea salt if it floats your boat.
  5. Resist the urge to just eat the whole batch with a spoon, and frost your cake as desired.

Original recipe here


Vanilla Wacky Cake 

  • 1 1/2 cups + 3 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 5 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8-inch square or round pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in prepared pan (for round cake pan, mix all ingredients in a bowl and then pour the batter into the pan). Make 3 depressions in the flour mixture with your thumb. Pour the vinegar in one, the vanilla in another, and the oil in the third (it will overflow). Pour the water over all of it. Mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Bake 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Original recipe here

Vanilla “Butter”cream Frosting

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) Earth Balance soy-free buttery stick, room temp
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • almond milk for thinning (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. meringue powder (optional)
  • food coloring (optional)
  1. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, cream the Earth Balance until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add about half of the powdered sugar, mixing until incorporated.
  2. Add vanilla. Mix in remaining powdered sugar gradually, pausing to whip the frosting mixture at high speed before adding more sugar, until the frosting looks thick enough. Whip at least a minute more and adjust powdered sugar or almond milk amounts as desired. Add meringue powder if you want your frosting to hold its shape during decorating.
  3. Dye with food coloring if desired.

Quick Single-Serving Microwave Mug Cake – Chocolate or Vanilla

  • 5 Tbsp. flour
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. cocoa powder (for vanilla, add an additional 2 tsp. flour instead)
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 4 1/2 Tbsp. water
  1. Grease the inside of a large ceramic mug. Combine dry ingredients inside, mixing well with a fork.
  2. Use your index finger to make 3 depressions in the flour mixture. Pour vinegar in one, vanilla in the second, and oil in the third (it will overflow). Pour water over all. Mix with fork until very well incorporated.
  3. Place in microwave and cook, uncovered, on high 1 1/2 – 2 minutes–it will vary depending on your microwave. Don’t overcook! Remember there are no eggs, so a little underdone is ok–even delicious!
  4. Top with dairy-free chocolate chips, So Delicious CocoWhip, or whatever you like! Eat warm.
  5. FOR SMALL BATCH OF CUPCAKES: This recipe will fill about 3 cupcake liners. Fill remaining wells of your tin with water, then bake at 350 for 12 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. You’ll have to watch them carefully.

Original recipe here

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Egg-free | Gluten-free option | Nut-free

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Paleo double chocolate muffins/cupcakes and coconut cream frosting.

These cupcakes may be decorated for Halloween, but let me begin by sharing something that I just learned:

Paleo baking isn’t scary!!!

To keep the record straight, I have no intention of abandoning my beloved grains. But I had lately begun to notice that so much of my cooking was bordering on Paleo anyway–without being a buzzword–that it seemed like a logical experiment, especially when I learned that my oldest’s 1st-grade teacher is celiac.

So what is Paleo cooking? Basically the idea, and hence the name, is to eat what was available to our cave-dwelling ancestors (but a whole lot tastier and with more variety!): meat, eggs, seafood, veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. No dairy, grains, sugar, or artificial junk. (Obviously the sprinkles are NOT Paleo.)

So clean eating is basically Paleo + dairy and whole grains. And when you’re eating dairy-free anyway, the only thing you have left to cut out is the grains! Again, I don’t plan to cut out grains altogether, but occasional paleo choices have helped me lower my carb intake and see results around my waistline, even when indulging in occasional treats like this one.

These are really just muffins with frosting, and they taste just fine without the frosting. In fact, my coconut-averse middle child (is she really my child???) prefers them without the frosting, but they’re so much more fun to decorate with it!

The verdict? Let’s just say that her teacher asked to know my secret to successful gluten-free baking.

Double Chocolate Paleo Muffins/Cupcakes

(original recipe here)

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (darker is better if you like richer muffins)
  • 3 Tbsp Enjoy Life or other allergy-friendly mini chocolate chips
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • dash salt
  • optional: 1/2 scoop protein powder (we used Vega brand chocolate flavor)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce or coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 9 cups of a muffin tin with paper liners, or use a silicone muffin tin.
  2. In a smallish bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, applesauce or oil, honey, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients, mix until well incorporated, then stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour scant 1/4 cupfuls of batter into papers. Bake 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Coconut Cream Frosting

  • can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated at least 24 hours
  • 1/2 tsp (or to taste) vanilla
  • 1 tsp (or to taste) honey
  1. Keep can steady and DO NOT SHAKE while removing from the refrigerator and opening with a can opener. Skim the cream off the top and spoon into a small bowl.
  2. Add vanilla and honey; whisk well for 2 minutes. If desired, place back in the refrigerator to firm up more.
  3. Frost muffins and decorate as desired.

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Gluten-free | Paleo


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Pumpkin Apple Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins. Intensely delicious.

Fall is always the most depressing season here in Florida. While friends in other parts of the country & world are posting on Facebook about cooler temperatures, fall leaves, & sweaters, I’ve been in flip flops since February & my A/C is still blaring 24 hours a day. I miss seasons. I miss jeans! It wouldn’t hurt to come home from a run not dripping with sweat either…

So I try to will Fall here to the subtropics from my kitchen. Today’s post is my hail-Mary, 4th-&-goal, “It’s Fall, gosh darn it!”

muffinsThese muffins are intense. Amazing. Fall in a mouthful. And you know what? It worked! We’ve been soaking in torrential rains since Monday afternoon, & the temperature on my dashboard actually started with a 6 this morning! 69 degrees! It’s FALL in Florida!!!

…until it dries out & both temps & humidity go back up to the 80s for at least another month. But you know what? I just wore jeans two days in a row! In September!

Here’s how to bring Fall into your kitchen:


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (use the rest of your can to make these & thank me later)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped peeled apples (about 1 1/2 apples. I used Braeburns because they were on sale.)

Cream cheese layer:

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla


  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 & line 2 muffin tins with papers. (Yield is about 21 muffins)
  2. Make muffin batter: whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a smallish bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, & oil. Mix wet ingredients into dry until incorporated. Stir in apples. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
  3. Cream cheese mixture: in electric mixer bowl, blend ingredients until smooth. Place a heaping teaspoon on top of batter in each cup.
  4. Streusel: using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut ingredients together until they form a coarse crumb. Easily the most time-consuming step; I personally have a love-hate relationship with streusel (love to eat it, hate to make it), but trust me, it’s worth it.
  5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Optional: top with glaze when cooled (1 cup powdered sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp. milk). But they are insanely delicious without, let me tell you!

muffinLinked up at TidyMom

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One-ingredient ice cream.

I’ve missed sharing ideas with people! I’ve decided to set a goal of posting at least once a week. Now that The Mini-Munchkin is about the same age that The Munchkin was when I started this, I feel like I can take the time to set up more good photos & write some more. Though the girls are so big now, I don’t think I could call either of them Munchkin anymore. I’m currently accepting nominations for new aliases for my 4- & 1-year-olds.

But so that I don’t bite off more than I can chew, let’s start with something easy, shall we?

banana swirl

This ice cream has one ingredient: bananas.

It’s easy to make. It’s fat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, & delicious.

It’s been making the Pinterest rounds, & even Daniel Tiger on PBS is getting into the act; my 4-year-old informed me that this comes from one of his shows & is called “Banana Swirl.”


Just take about 1 ripe (but not banana-bread ripe; I made that mistake this first time. Think still yellow.) banana per person, cut them into thirds or quarters, & freeze. I just stuck mine in a Ziploc baggie. After a couple of hours, remove them from the freezer, stick them in your blender or food processor, & pulverize. The “snow” setting on my Breville worked like a dream. After a couple of minutes, you should see smooth, soft-serve-looking “banana swirl.” That’s it!

Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free | Vegan

Why does this happen? Bananas have high pectin levels. Pectin is the gelling agent that you add when you make jam. It acts as a stabilizer to create that creamy texture. Mangoes apparently also have high pectin levels & would likely produce the same effect if frozen & blended.

This is a great treat for summertime. We made ours to refuel after gymnastics, but I’m thinking one morning I might top it with fruit & granola & serve “ice cream” for breakfast, just to shake things up a bit! What do you think of that?


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Blueberry Cream Pudding Pie. (Inspired by Serious Eats)

I don’t get to spend as much time as I’d like anymore perusing Serious Eats. Fortunately, they haven’t forgotten about me & still send me their weekly recipe newsletter. Today’s recipe is an easy version of one from said newsletter. If you feel like scraping vanilla beans & crushing your own graham cracker crumbs, find the recipe here. If you’re pressed for time like me, read on.

I think I underestimate how much I love pudding. It’s not something I ordinarily think to buy, but maybe it should be: it was the first thing I ate after my C-section (thank you, breech Mini-Munchkin). I ate it with every subsequent meal in the hospital. Hmmm… Pudding with every meal? I could go for that!

In the meantime, here’s pudding with dessert.

  • 1 premade graham cracker crust
  • 1 box (the big one, not the small one) vanilla instant pudding
  • 2 cups cold skim milk
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  • 1 pint blueberries, washed & dried
  1. Prepare the pudding as directed on the package, just with 2 cups milk instead of 3. Chill in the refrigerator.
  2. Whip the cream, sugar, & vanilla. Fold about 1/3 of it into prepared pudding.
  3. Spread half of the pudding mixture into the bottom of the crust.
  4. Carefully spread another 1/3 of the whipped cream over the pudding, then top with almost all of the blueberries.
  5. Spread remaining pudding to hide the blueberries, then top with remaining whipped cream & sprinkle remaining blueberries on top.
  6. Serve with a spoon; this will get messy!

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S’mores Bars.

Wow. Just wow. Blondies + s’mores = droooooooool…

I pinned this months ago, but I’ve never been a consumer of Marshmallow Fluff — in fact, any time I think about it, the line from Julie & Julia comes to mind, “What eez zees marshmallow fluff?” But I followed Mel’s advice & overcame my Fear of the Fluff. SO WORTH IT.

Overcome your Fear of the Fluff & make these. Now. (Original recipe here.)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about a sleeve of graham crackers, crushed)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks butter, room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff or creme
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semisweet, but milk would be more authentically s’mores)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9×13 pan with foil, leaving an overhang on the short edges, & spray the foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, cream together butter & brown sugar. Beat in eggs & vanilla.
  4. Reduce speed to low & gradually add flour mixture until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Press one half into the bottom of the prepared pan in an even layer.
  6. Dollop on the marshmallow topping & gently spread in an even layer.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.
  8. Scatter remaining dough in clumps on top, leaving some of the marshmallow & chocolate peeking through.
  9. Bake 30-32 minutes, or until golden & the marshamllow is good & toasty.
  10. Let cool completely before removing the bars using the foil, cutting, & enjoying.

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Easy Valentine’s Dessert: 6-Ingredient Molten Chocolate Cakes.

For those of you looking for a last-minute dessert idea for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, here is a molten chocolate cake that tastes every bit as fancy as the restaurant ones, but is easy enough to leave plenty of time for romance!

These beauties became a family tradition for us the first Valentine’s Day after The Munchkin was born, when we weren’t able to go out. This year we actually got a babysitter & get to go out for the first Valentine’s Day since then, so I decided to make them tonight for Sunday Dinner so I could share the recipe with you. I’m sure that My Husband The Eater minded terribly.

I think I first got this from Kraft food&family magazine. This recipe yields 4 small cakes; you can easily halve it for just the two of you, or make the full recipe & save the other 2 to eat later (though they will be less molten). I won’t judge you one bit…. since that’s what we do every year.

  • 4 (1 oz.) squares Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate (or for more richness, use 4 oz. of your favorite bittersweet chocolate)
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp. flour
  • whipped cream or ice cream, for serving
  1. Preheat your oven to 425. Butter or grease 4, 3/4-cup custard cups or souflee dishes. Place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Microwave chocolate & butter in a large microwaveable bowl on high 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir with a wire whisk until the chocolate is melted too.
  3. Stir in sugar with the whisk until well blended.
  4. Whisk in the eggs & egg yolks. Stir in flour.
  5. Divide the batter equally among prepared cups. Bake 13-14 minutes or until the sides are firm but the centers are still soft.
  6. Let stand 1 minute, then gently run a small knife around the cakes to loosen them. Carefully invert them onto dessert dishes & serve immediately with ice cream or whipped cream.


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