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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

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It’s time to make a birthday cake for a special friend. His favorite color is blue, so there was really nothing else I could have done. I decided to make a French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.

Honestly, baking doesn’t come easily to me, I really have to work at it. I do take help where I can. For this recipe, I used a box cake mix. Listen, there are some really good ones available. It saves a lot of time, you don’t need to measure out all the ingredients, so why not?

I am going to be adding a secret ingredient to my cake that will make it extra moist and delicious. I’ll tell you about that in a minute. Let’s get started.

I’m starting out by using three boxes of Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix.

Offset Spatula

French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time: 10 to 15 minutes
Baking Time: 25 to 55 minutes (times may vary depending on oven and the different size cakes pans used for this recipe)
Equipment: 5″, 7″, and 9″ cake pans, parchment paper, Stand Mixer, hand-held electric mixer, 3 medium-sized mixing bowls, 1 large mixing bowl, 3 cake cooling racks, piping bag with a star tip

Note: It’s important when baking that all the ingredients be at room temperature.

Ingredients:
3 boxes of Duncan Hines French Vanilla Cake Mix, 16.5-ounce box
9 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups of water, divided into thirds
1 cup of vegetable oil, divided into thirds
3/4 cup of ricotta cheese, divided into thirds
3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature, (for greasing pans)
3/4 cup of all-purpose flour (for pans)

Ingredients For Frosting, Double Batch:
4 sticks of softened unsalted butter
2 8-ounce bars softened cream cheese
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 drops of blue food coloring (more if you’d like the color to be darker or you may want to choose a different color).

Directions:
The first thing that you need to do is to prep all three of the cake pans with butter, parchment paper to fit the bottom each cake pan, and flour. You want to butter the pans first, then lay down the parchment paper in each one. Butter the tops of each circle of parchment paper. Next, flour each pan. Sprinkle a little flour into the bottom of the pans then roll the flour around so the bottom and sides of the pan are floured. Shake off any excess flour into the sink and then the pans are ready.

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Using a hand mixer, on low speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients from the box to the wet ingredients, scraping down the side of the bowl to ensure to incorporate the flour, until just combined. Do not overmix. Transfer the completed batter to another large mixing bowl. Repeat this process 2 more times. All the completed batter should now be combined in the large bowl.

Place the 3 cake pans into the oven and bake for the following times.
Using a toothpick or cake tester, after 25 minutes, check on the 5″ cake, then at 45 minutes, check on the 7″ cake. Then again at 55 minutes for the 9″ cake. Remember these time may vary slightly.

Transfer the three cakes to cooling racks and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then use a knife to loosen the cake around the edges of the pan. Place the cooling rack on top of the pan then invert the whole pan rack included upside down. Lift the cake pan slowly to allow the cake to fall free from the pan. Repeat this process for each cake. Let the cakes cool on the racks completely before frosting.

Directions For Cream Cheese Frosting:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment add the softened butter and cream cheese. Cream those together for just a minute until combined. Next, add the vanilla extract, mix until combined. Next, slowly add the powdered sugar until all 4 cups have been added. Mix until completely combined. Finally, add the food coloring one drop at a time. Two drops total should be perfect for a pastel blue.

In an earlier post, I talk about a bakery supply company called D & G Occasions. This is where I purchased the white roses for this cake. You can visit  D & G Occasions by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

Using an offset spatula, starting with the top and working downwards and around the outside of each particular cake. Once the cake is totally frosted, fill a large pitcher with super hot water. Dip the offset spatula in the water, shake off the excess water. Run the spatula around the top and rim of the bottom two cakes as well as the outside of each cake. This will smooth out any imperfections on the frosting. If needed, add more frosting to the needed areas. Again, smoothing it out by using the offset spatula that’s been dipped into the hot water.

After each layer of the cake has been frosted, using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, make stars around the second and third layer. On the top layer make a border of your choosing. Place the candied roses around each layer of the cake. There it is my French Vanilla Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting.

When you’re ready to decorate, let your imagination run wild.

 

D & G Occasions

 

 

 

 

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Double Fudge Peanut Butter Brownies

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It can get a little stressful in my house when, Steve’s team, the Miami Dolphins are playing. If they’re scheduled to play the New England Patriots, well, that’s a whole different kind of worry. As a loyal fan, he takes game day very seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love football too. I thought, how can I make this night extra special.

I thought, how about one of his favorites, brownies! Because I’ve been busy myself, I decided to take a little help from the store and make these semi-homemade. I dashed up to the grocery store and picked up a really good box brownie mix, and then added a few extra surprises to make my Double Fudge And Peanut Butter Brownies.

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Coffee really enhances the flavor of the chocolate.

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This worked out great!  It didn’t take that much longer to add these extra ingredients. The fact that I started out with a really good box mix and just added a few extra special ingredients gave Steve the impression that they were made from scratch. I made store-bought brownies seem as though they were homemade.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 to 33 minutes,
Total Cook Time: 43 minutes
Yields: 16 brownies
Equipment: 8 x 8-inch non-stick baking dish, large mixing bowl, 1 large wooden skewer, a serving platter

Ingredients:
1 17.6-ounce box of Duncan Hines Decadent Double Fudge Brownie Mix, fudge packet included
1 large egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup brewed coffee, cold
1 cup of peanut butter, smooth
1/8 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips plus extra for garnish
1/8 cup of Nestle pumpkin morsels plus extra for garnish

Directions:
Note:
Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. for glass or metal pans, 325-degrees F. for dark non-stick pans. Brownies are done when a toothpick is inserted 1-inch from the edge of the pan and it comes out clean. For 8 x 8-inch pan bake for 35 to 38 minutes. For 9 x 9-inch pan bake for 30 to 33 minutes. Add 3 to 5 minutes for dark non-stick pans.
The brownie mix is a double fudge mix that includes a fudge pouch. I decided to add a few more goodies like peanut butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and some new Nestle pumpkin morsels. These extras should do the trick.

Follow the instructions on the box. To the dry mix, I added in a 1/4 cup mixture of the semi-sweet chocolate and pumpkin morsels, mixing the morsels, to coat the chips really well with the dry mix.

For the wet ingredients, in another large mixing bowl, add the cold brewed coffee, egg, water, oil, and fudge packet, mix to combine.

Next, slowly add the dry to the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour the batter into a buttered (to ensure brownies do not stick) greased 8 X 8-inch non-stick baking pan. Next, take 1 cup of smooth peanut butter and place spoonfuls randomly, all over the top. Take a large skewer and swirl the peanut butter through the batter. This way every bite will have some of that creamy peanut butter. 

Bake at 325-degrees F. for 35 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

After cutting the brownies, arrange them onto a serving platter and sprinkle the top of my Double Fudge Peanut Butter Brownies with a few more of the different flavored chocolate chips.

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Semi-Homemade Biscuits

Semi-Homemade Biscuits (2)

 

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These Semi-Homemade Biscuits are so easy to make, I promise you’ll be making them again and again. They are golden on the outside and tender and delicious on the inside.

Cook Time: 10-12 minutes
Equipment: 9 x 13 casserole or baking dish, rolling pin, square biscuit cutter
Yields: 18 biscuits

Ingredients:
4 cups of Bisquick mix
1 cup of Sprite or 7-Up
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt at room temperature
1/2 a bar of room temperature cream cheese ( 4 ounces )
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Melt the butter and pour into a 9 x 13 pan. In a large bowl, mix all the wet ingredients and the salt together. Finally add the Bisquick mix slowly, DO NOT over mix. The dough will be sticky. Flour your surface and rolling pin. Add a little flour to the top of the dough making it easier to roll out. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, about a 1/2 inch thick. Using a square biscuit cutter, cut the dough into 18 biscuits and place into your melted buttered baking dish, arranging them side by side. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

While the biscuits are hot, brush the tops with melted butter. Serve immediately.

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