Black Forest Cheesecake Cupcakes

You can’t go wrong with cheesecake. Especially cheesecake in cupcake form. These little individual servings are perfect to take to a potluck or cookout. If you manage to get them out of your house before you consume them all!

The base is made from a basic Oreo crust, then filled with a luscious chocolate cheesecake filling. Then they’re baked, cooled, and topped with cherry pie filling and homemade whipped cream. Some chocolate shavings would also do nice for garnish sakes, but I was feeling especially lazy the evening I made these and just enjoyed them without. I didn’t miss them.

I think I might try a spin on this using fresh raspberries when I find them on sale this summer. Or, I bet strawberries would be great too. Have a great weekend everyone!

Source: adapted from Cooking Classy

Mixed Berry Yogurt Cake

If you’ve been coming to the site for any amount of time, you guys know that I love using yogurt as an ingredient in baked goods. It adds a ton of moisture, without a ton of of calories. In the past I’d only done Bundt or loaf cakes, so I thought it was high time I made a traditional layer cake using yogurt.

I took a recipe I’d found on Pinterest and modified it to make a larger cake. I added blueberries and raspberries, because I happened to have them both on hand. Then covered it in a delicious lemon-cream cheese frosting. Aren’t the flavors of lemon and berries just divine when paired together? The lemon really sets off the flavor of the berries, I think!

I cut my cake layers in half, to make a super-impressive four layer cake – but just two layers would be just as delicious, and less work. The whole family enjoyed it’s summery flavors, and the fact that it was rich – without being too heavy, if that makes sense…

Not to mention it was beautiful when cut into, with gorgeous bursts of color from the berries baked inside. A perfect cake to bake for a cookout or potluck this summer!

Source: adapted from Kitchen Trial & Error

Derby Pie

Tomorrow is Derby Day! Being a Maryland girl, I’ve always been a fan of the series of horse races known as the Triple Crown. Starting with the Kentucky Derby, continuing with The Preakness here in Maryland, and finishing up with The Belmont Stakes in upstate New York – it’s always something that I look forward to in the spring!

While Mint Julips are a great way to celebrate “the run for the roses”, I’ve always preferred this delicious chocolate-nut pie known simply as “Derby Pie”. Although, you didn’t hear me call it that! The family restaurant that invented this pie has that title trademarked, and it’s not been afraid to sue the pants off of folks in the past. So, you’ll see it referred to as other names – “Kentucky Pie” or “Thoroughbred Pie” to name a few. Some folks use pecans in their pies for some reason, but after poking around a bit it seems to me that the original uses walnuts. So, I went with that!

It’s a decadent and rich pie studded with plenty of chocolate, walnuts, bourbon, and brown sugar. When baked, a sugary natural crust forms on it’s own that’s slightly crunchy. I like to let it cool to room temperature before slicing, then warming in the microwave for about 15 seconds, and serving alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

It’s nothing short of incredible. And, unlike other pies – it stays good for three or four days. And, a small slice is more than enough since it’s so rich and decadent, so it does have the potential to last that long too…provided you’re not grotesquely pregnant and eat the entire pie in two!

Source: adapted from about.com

Perfect Pie Crust

Before I found this recipe, pie crust – and really pies in general, had been my nemesis. Jon prefers pie over cake. So I tried, God I tried. But I always had issues with the dough splitting and cracking, or not rolling out evenly. Not to mention my rolling skills weren’t the best to begin with. But I knew that pie crust was something that I had to get the hang of, so I soldiered on and finally came across this recipe from Annie.

Couldn’t be simpler! There’s no funny techniques or weird ingredients (I’m looking at you, vodka) to worry about. It’s made in the stand mixer, which is always a plus – the paddle attachment breaks up the butter pieces as a pastry cutter would do. A little chilling period in the refrigerator to firm it up before rolling out, and then voila – a pie crust that rolls out beautifully, and it still sturdy enough to work with to get in the pan and get your crimping done. Not to mention it’s always perfectly tender and flaky as well…everything that a pie crust should be!

I’ve used this recipe for pies that require a blind bake (for something like this Cherry Cheese Pie, where you need a baked pie shell, but the pie-filling doesn’t need to be cooked) or for something like Ricotta-Pineapple Pie, where the whole pie needs to go in the oven to bake. In either even, it always turns out beautifully. If you too have struggled with pie crusts in the past, give this recipe a try. It really was a lifesaver for me, and now I’m so proud of my many pie accomplishments in the kitchen!

Source: adapted from William’s Sonoma via Annie’s Eats