Devilishly Good Chocolate Cake



This weekend was Mr. Picky’s birthday weekend so what Mr. Picky wants Mr. Picky gets. And he wanted Chocolate Cake with Chocolate frosting. Now for him a simple Devils Food cake out of the box would work just fine but I wanted to play and I got this great cookbook at  a flea market a few weeks ago. 


So I started flipping pages and here was what I made for Mr. Picky today 🙂

Now the recipe says to make it in a Bundt pan but I used 2 – 9 in pans because I wanted a double layer cake. It also says to use the Chocolate Pan Frosting  but again maverick that I am (um yeah ok LOL) I used my own Chocolate Butter-cream Frosting.

Another side note – The recipe looks longer than it is difficult. Ms. Anne Byrn definitely spells it out step by step so even the most inexperienced baker can make anything in her book.

Devilishly Good Chocolate Cake (as found on page 202)

1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 cup water

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain devil’s food cake mix

1 package (3.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix

4 large eggs

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as canola, corn, safflower, soybean, or sunflower

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Palace a rack in the canter or the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly mist a 12 cup Bundt pan with Vegetable oil spray, then dust with flour (or use cake baking spray like I did). Shake out excess flour. Set the pan aside.

2. Place the chocolate and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. (Again I deviated a little and did this step in the microwave at 30 second intervals. It took about 1 minute 10 seconds to melt the chocolate.)

3. Place the cake mix, pudding, mix, eggs, buttermilk, oil, and Vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Fold in the melted chocolate. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat 2 to 3 more, scraping the sides down again if needed. The batter should look thick and well combined. Pour the batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out with the rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven.

4. Bake the cake until it springs back when lightly pressed with your finger and just starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, 40 to 45 minutes.(Again I used 2 – 9 in pans and baking took about 30 minutes)  Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. Run a long sharp knife around the edge of the cake and invert it onto a rack to complete cooling, 20 minutes more.

5. Prepare frosting of your choice and frost. A side note if your in a hurry or simply don’t care for frosting you can simply sprinkle about 1/4 cup powdered sugar over the cake.


Chocolate Butter-Cream Frosting

2 sticks (1 cup) Salted Butter

1 bag (2 pounds) Confectioners (Powdered) Sugar

2/3 cup Unsweetened Coco Powder

2 teaspoons Vanilla

enough water (or milk your choice) to make it creamy

In you mixer cream butter about 2 or 3 minutes. Add sugar SLOWLY, you may need to add a couple tablespoons water. Add the Coco Powder again SLOWLY, again a  couple tablespoons water will be needed or it will be to thick. Add Vanilla and beat for a few minutes more to be sure it is fully incorporated. Don’t worry you really can’t over beat this frosting. 

Caramel Apple Cheesecake


I’m a sucker for cheesecake! So when I came across this recipe for Caramel Apple Cheesecake on I knew I had to try it. And you know what it is absolutely wonderful!

Okay a little honesty here. This is the first baked cheesecake I’ve tried and I was a little intimidated by it. But you know what? It was really easy! There are a lot of steps but they go quickly! I promise. 🙂

This is the recipe exactly as it appears on her site. I didn’t have any caramels but I did have some caramel Sunday topping so I used that. 🙂

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Cheesecake Filling
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Layer
1 Granny Smith apple
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Caramel Drizzle
12 individually wrapped caramels
1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking dish by spraying it with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crust: graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter, mixing well with a fork.
Place crust mixture into prepared baking dish, pressing down gently with your fingers.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth, about 2 minutes.
Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Pour over crust, spreading evenly.
In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for the apple layer:  brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Mix well.
Peel, core and dice the apple into small pieces.  Add to dry ingredients and toss to coat.
Distribute evenly over the cheesecake layer in the baking dish.
In another medium bowl, combine ingredients for streusel topping:  brown sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, and melted butter.  Mix will until a coarse meal is formed.  Sprinkle evenly over apple layer.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until streusel is golden.
Transfer baking dish to a wire rack to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for an hour or more to set.
For the caramel drizzle, in a microwavable bowl, melt the caramels on increments of 30 seconds, until smooth, stirring in between.  Allow to cool slightly and stir in the heavy cream.
Drizzle with caramel sauce before serving.

till next time

Krista ❤

Stuffed Shells

We are big lovers of spaghetti and lasagna in this house.  Mom decided today that we should try our hand at stuffed shells.  I figured it couldn’t be any more work that lasagna so why not?  Turns out it was pretty easy and tasted great!    Here is what we did.

Stuffed shells

1 box large shells

5 links hot Italian sausage with the casing removed

2 lbs hamburger

2 cans hunts spaghetti sauce

2 lbs shredded mozzarella

32 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

3/4 cup Parmesan cheese



Boil large shells according to package directions

Brown sausage and hamburger and drain.  Add to sauce and let simmer.

Put a layer of sauce in a large baking dish

Mix the ricotta, egg, and Parmesan cheese together

Fill each shell with cheese mixture and place in baking dish

Once the pan is full, pour sauce over the shells, top with mozzarella cheese and cover with foil.  Place in the oven set at 350 for 1 hour.  Let stand for 10 min and enjoy!  Place leftovers on foil and make serving size pouches to reheat in the oven for easy cooking nights!



Meatballs and Gravy

Some days you just want one of those meals from your childhood.  Meatballs and gravy is a huge comfort food in our house.  My recipe has changed throughout the years, but the base is always the same.  There is just something wonderful about those meatballs with mashed potatoes and the gravy smothering it all!  The recipe is pretty basic but the results are oh so delicious!


3 lbs hamburger

3 eggs

2 pkg onion soup mix (you can sub with beefy onion or any other you really like)

Bread crumbs

3 cans beef broth (beef consume works too)

1 can french onion soup (this time I used cream of mushroom, your choice really)

Bread flour


Mix hamburger, eggs, dry soup mix together.  Add breadcrumbs until they are not so sticky (they will be sticky no matter what, it just feels a bit more solid).  Roll into meatballs.  Size really goes to preference.  It’s really up to you.  Place onto a plate with the bread flour on it.  Roll the meatballs so they are covered in the flour.



Add the beef broth and soup to a dutch oven and set burner to low.  Add the meatballs to the liquid.  Turn heat to med high and gently stir after 5 min.  Once they come to a boil, stir again and reduce heat to med.  Stir gently every 10-15 min until cooked through.  Cook time will vary based on how big you make your meatballs.  Generally I let them cook up to 45 min.  To test if they are done take one out and cut it in half.

Normally we have green beans and mashed potatoes with this.  Sometimes if we are lucky, mom will make creamed cabbage.  Not a favorite for Mr. Picky, but it’s something I grew up with so I have always loved it.  I will share the recipe with you once Mom fills me in!

I really hope you enjoy these!



Homemade Dog Food




Today was a cooking day in my house.  So many meals for the week are now prepared and ready to freeze for easy meals.  Of course we can’t leave the pooches out!  We have been rather lazy lately and just buying the wet food that we add to their dry.  They really don’t care, but I have read the ingredient list.  Not so healthy for my fur babies.  So since we were already tearing up the kitchen, why not get their food made too?   Here we go!


Homemade Wet Dog Food

3 lbs ground turkey

1.5 lbs each of sliced carrots and peas (I use frozen)

3 eggs

1 lb of chicken livers

Garlic powder or fresh garlic if you have it.  I have fresh garlic for a meal later this week so I used 5 pieces and used the garlic press to mash it up.   Fleas don’t like garlic.


Cook the livers in a little olive oil and water.  When done, run thru the food processor to a paste like texture and start browning the turkey.  Once the turkey is partially cooked add the livers and garlic and add enough water to cover the top and mash it up as well as you can.  A potato masher is handy for this.  Once cooked thru, scramble the eggs in a bowl and slowly add to the meat mixture while stirring constantly.  Next add the peas and carrots and again add enough water to cover the pan and let cook for about 10 minutes.   Scoop into 1 or2 cup containers and let cool.  I also added water to the pan once I had most of the food in containers and then swirled it in the pan to get all the bits together and added the water to each container.  The extra water really adds flavor to their bowls and my dogs will not eat their food unless there is some water in there to get the good flavor on all their food.  (Yes, my pets are my children)  Once cool, put in your freezer and take out the day before you are going to use it and put it in the fridge.  Now my pictures show pasta in there and that is because while making stuffed shells I found I had quite a few pieces of broken pasta that would have been thrown away if I hadn’t added it to the dog food.  It is not something I have ever done and probably wont do again unless a similar situation happens.   I ended up with 17 containers of good healthy food for my dogs.  I only add a tablespoon or so with their dry food so this will last us for months!



Any questions or ideas?  Let me know!  I would love to hear back from you guys!