Archive for recipes

Guinea Pig Monday: Watergate Cake

The frosting is addictive

I love Watergate Salad. Always have, always will. To be honest I’m not sure how the cake ended up having any frosting on it, I probably could have eaten the whole batch right there in my kitchen. We’ve been going through everything in my grandmother’s house to clean it out to sell. (We moved her into an assisted living apartment last month.) She was the one I obviously inherited my baking obsession from since my mom used the smoke detector as an oven timer and I don’t think I’ve ever seen my dad cook anything besides eggs, so there are lots of I’m-not-even-sure-what-that-is-kitchen-gadgets to discover and cook books to explore (not to mention the desserts recipe card box that is stuffed full.) This weekend I was going through a United Methodist Women’s league community cookbook from the late 70s I now own and I ran across Watergate Cake. I knew I had to give that a go, even though Floof made over-dramatic shocked gasps when I picked up the boxed cake mix it called for in the grocery store.

Yes the ’70s when everything came in a box mix. There are too many nuts in the batter if you ask me. I don’t think I even used as much as it called for and now that I’ve tasted it,  it could have used about half that.  You could probably use half in the cake and then the other half in the frosting, since they work better in the frosting.

Watergate Cake

Adapted from the United Methodist Women community cookbook


1 box white cake mix
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup 7 up
2 boxes pistachio instant pudding mix
4 eggs (well beaten)
1 cup chopped pistachios or pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350º and butter a 10″ bundt pan.

Mix all the cake ingredients together, pour into pan and bake 45-50 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes, turn out cool and refrigerate several hours before frosting.

1 box pistachio instant pudding
2 envelopes dream whip
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 2% cold milk.
3-4 oz. crushed pineapple
1/4 cup chopped pistachios or pecans (I’m just guessing here, it wasn’t in the original recipe, but I felt like the frosting needed the texture nuts provide so I just sprinkled in until it felt like the right amount)

whip all ingredients in bowl of mixer with whisk attachment until fluffy. frost cake and refrigerate.


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GPM: Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Chocolate Peanutbutter Cupcakes, originally uploaded by sockmonkeyrevolt.

Due to what I like to call niceness gone wrong my cake-taker is indisposed (I brought the leftovers of my birthday cake over to my parents’ house, but a few days later, my dad called offering to pay me to make another one because apparently controversy erupted over whether he had hogged all the frosting, so he thought it was just easier to get them another cake. I didn’t charge him obviously, but I did make a new cake yesterday for him, so the taker is over at their house again.) so the ultimate chocolate peanut butter torte turned into me deciding to make cupcakes. I didn’t turn the torte recipe into cupcakes, just the spirit of it (because the reviews of the recipe on the site were pretty mixed so I figured I’d go it alone. I am all about the ganache, I think I could eat that all just out of the bowl. The batter is adapted from my goto chocolate cake recipe from ‘Baked’. The ganache I just made up.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes (makes 3 dozen)

for the cake:
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, tightly packed
3 large eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chopped Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups (I bought a bag of them from the horrifically early Halloween candy section at the store. I used about 8 for cupcakes and then sliced the rest into thin strips for garnish)

For the Ganache:

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (high cocoa content)
1 cup heavy cream
4 spoonfuls of creamy peanut butter (I used a soup spoon and heaped it)

make the cupcakes:
In one bowl combine the cocoa, hot water and sour cream, set aside.
In a medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment beat the butter and shortening for about 5 minutes on medium until light and fluffy. Add both of the sugars and beat about 5 minutes until light an fluffy. Add the eggs 1 by one, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beat until incorporated. Scrape down bowl and beat 30 seconds.

Add half of the flour mixture, once incorporated add the cocoa-sour cream mixture, incorporate and then add the rest of the flour mixture scraping down the bowl each time. Add the chopped peanut butter cups and mix on stir to just combine.

Divide among 3 trays of lined cupcake pans. Bake at 325º for 30-35 minutes rotating halfway through baking. Cool on wire racks.

Make the ganache:

Put chocolate into heat safe bowl. Heat the cream until just starting to boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Let sit a couple minutes to soften chocolate, add peanut butter and stir until everything is combined and creamy. Let cool about 15 minutes to set up a little. It should be soft enough to spoon or pipe, but if it’s too warm or runny it will soak into the cake and you’ll use more of it than you need.

Using a paring knife, cut circles into the top of the cupcakes and remove the cake to make a small cavity. Fill the cavity with ganache and spread a thin layer of ganache over the top of the cupcake. Slice your remaining peanut butter cups into thin strips and garnish the cupcakes.

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Guinea Pig Mondays: Cranberry Apricot Date Tart

Cranberry Apricot Date Tart, originally uploaded by sockmonkeyrevolt.

This week my baking adventure is a little more adventurous than usual. That’s because instead of following a recipe, I created one. Creating a baking recipe scares me a little bit because baking is such a science. I had a little trouble with the crust shrinking on the sides and I feel a little like the crust still didn’t bake completely. I’m not sure if that’s a symptom of my rectangular tart pan though because it seems that every tart I make with it, the shell is undercooked even if I’ve used a professional recipe and cooked it longer than the recommended time.

Now that I’ve premiered the tart to my co-workers, I can say that it’s definitely a success, and compared to my last 2 Mondays, it’s almost like health food. 🙂 Perhaps I’ll feel more confident to tweak and come up with my own recipes with baked goods more often now. (and maybe I’ll even keep track of how much spice I’m adding so I can be more precise than ‘um I gave it like 4 shakes’ I’m a terible ‘that just loks like the right amount of seasoning’ type.)

Recipe is after the “more”.
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