Monthly Archives: April 2012

13th Birthday Cake

My little sister Gabrielle is officially a teenager! For her 13th Birthday party she and her friends went to see the new Hunger Games movie. Lizzie and I of course crashed the party, and I brought the cake!

Happy 13th Birthday Gabrielle!

In my family, all birthday cakes involve chocolate, so for Gabrielle’s birthday I made a chocolate cake with a peanut butter frosting filling. In order to make the cake a little on the lighter side, without skimping on the flavor, I experimented with adding Greek yogurt. Overall, I think this addition makes the cake creamier and lighter.

Chocolate Cake
Serves 12

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1/3 cup of milk (we used skim)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup hot coffee

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prepare 2 cake pans (8 inches – or in our case, heart-shaped pans) with a thin layer of butter and flour.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon).
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the wet ingredients together (greek yogurt, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla).
  4. Create a well in the bowl with the dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix for 30 seconds.
  5. Add coffee and mix to incorporate.
  6. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake at 350°F for 35 minutes. 
  7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pans. To loosen cake from pan run a knife around the edges of the pan and gentle tap the bottom of the cake pan.
  8. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Frosting
(filling between two cake layers)

1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
2/3 cup confectioners sugar

1. Combine butter and peanut butter.
2. Alternately add confectioners’ sugar and milk until frosting is light and fluffy.
3. Mix until light and fluffy.
4. Place one cake on serving plate and spread with even layer of frosting. 

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Frosting

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup cocoa
3 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Melt butter.
2. Add cocoa and vanilla. Whisk.
3. Alternately add Greek yogurt and powdered sugar, whisking until incorporated and fluffy. Frost!

Make a wish!

Happy Birthday Gabrielle!



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Cracker Candy aka Matzo Crack

Every year at Christmas my Mom and I used to make Cracker Candy.  It was the delightfully delicious treat made out of Saltines, caramel, chocolate, and nuts.  While perusing on Pinterest I came across Matzo Crack and I couldn’t resist checking it out.  It turns out that it is the same recipe my Mom and I used to make except it uses Matzo.  I had to give it a try and it was AMAZing.

You can find the original recipe at Once Upon a Chef , but I made a few modifications based on my family recipe below.


1 3/4 sticks of butter

1 box of Matzo or Saltines

1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 of a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, preferably Ghirardelli

1 cup of toasted and chopped pecans (really any nut will do)

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Line a rimmed backing sheet with aluminum foil AND a piece of parchment.  The caramel/toffee gets very sticky and this protects your pan and saves you a lot of clean-up time.  Then make a layer of Saltines or Matzo like this:

In a medium sauce pan bring the butter and brown sugar to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once it starts to boil, stir for 3 minutes still on medium-high heat.   After the the three minutes are up, pour the mixture over the Matzo layer.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

After ten minutes, turn the oven off an sprinkle the chocolate chips all over.  Leave the oven door open and let the chocolate chips melt for about 1-2 minutes.

Using a spatula, spread the chocolate into an even layer.  Sprinkle the nuts on top and voila!  Chill in the freezer for 20 minutes, then break into pieces.  I like it best stored in the freezer because it gives the candy an added crunch.

The result: addicting chocolate treat that will keep you coming back for more.

xo Elizabeth

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Filed under Christmas Cookies, Sweets