Memorable Memorial Day Fruity Mousse Cake

With the holiday weekend approaching I was racking my brain on what fruits I would like to use for a red, white and blue treat.  Strawberries are delish now and blueberries are sweet too!  So let’s make a cake, a refrigerated cake.  Something light after all the barbecue that we will consume on Monday.  This dessert can be made two days in advance, then left in the refrigerator.

Let’s start with our sauces in order to make them into mousses!

You will need a total of (3) 6 oz containers of fresh blueberries and (3) 16 oz containers of fresh strawberries to make this dessert!

You will also be using (2) 16 oz of Cool Whip (thawed)

Blueberry Sauce

  • 6 oz Blueberries (fresh, rinsed and pick out any stems)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water

Put in a small saucepan on medium high heat, stir occasionally for 15 minutes.  Pour into a fine mesh strainer.  Press down on berries to extract all the juice.  Let cool.

Strawberry Sauce

  • 16 oz Strawberries (cut off stems, rinse, cut into half)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Put into a medium saucepan on a medium high flame.  Stir occasionally cook for 15 minutes.  Pour into a fine mesh strainer pushing down on solids.  Let cool.While your sauces are cooking away, whip up one box of White Cake Mix, make according to box directions.  Use a 9″ Springform pan.  Grease well.  Since you are using the one box in only one pan rather than two, this will take about 35 minutes to bake, because of its’ size.

Let cool, then put into the freezer, pan and all.  This will make it much easier to cut into thirds.  You can freeze it overnight, or for at least a couple of hours.

If the sauces are completely cool, let’s turn them into mousses!

Take 4 oz Cool Whip, and fold it into the blueberry sauce.  Put into the frig.

Now take 12 oz Cool Whip, and fold it into the strawberry sauce.  Put into the frig too!

Take the (2) 16 oz containers of fresh Strawberries (rinse, cut off tops, slice)

Take the (2) 6 oz containers of fresh Blueberries (rinse, remove any stems)

You can set this all into the refrigerator and assemble the next day.

Remove the cake from the freezer.  Horizontally slice the cake into thirds.  Approximately the same size, no perfection is necessary!

Line a 9″ Springform pan with 2 sheets of saran wrap, leaving overhang.

Put one third of cake into the bottom of the pan, cut side up.  Use half of the strawberry mousse and spread over the cake layer.  Now cover with half of the sliced strawberries.  One layer down two to go!  Now place one more third of cake over this.  It may be thin and hard to work with, so pat the cake into place if needed.  Using all of the blueberry mousse cover this cake layer, spread with spatula, then top with the blueberries.  Save a handful of blueberries for decorating the top.  Last, set the final piece of cake on top and cover it with the remainder of strawberry mousse.  Cover the top with saran wrap and put into the freezer.  You can let it set up overnight, or until firm, about 3 to 4 hours.  This just makes it easier to take out of the springform pan.After it is set up, let’s take it out of the springform pan.  Keep the saran wrap on the top, unhook the springform latch to remove the ring.  Now flip it over to remove the saran wrap on the bottom, place on your platter and remove the top layers of saran wrap.

Using the last 16 oz container of Cool Whip, frost the sides of the cake.  You may want to pipe a border of Cool Whip on the bottom, if you like.

Mound the blueberries in the center of the cake.  Use the sliced strawberries to make a design over the top of the cake.  Like a concentrical circle!

Put into the refrigerator to give it time to thaw, the cake may still be frozen inside.  A couple of hours will do!

This cake is light, a lovely texture from the mousse layers and a sweetness from the fresh fruit.  Make your Memorial Day celebration memorable with this All-American-Cake.  This cake is so good you may want to salute the baker!  Happy Holiday!

Creamsicle Cheesecake with a Sugar Cone Crust

When I think of summer I think of a Creamsicle.  As a kid when the ice cream truck came around, I can recall the orange and vanilla flavor of this cold confection.  So with the weather getting warmer and a craving for a cheesecake, let’s combine those two favorite flavors, along with a sugar ice cream cone crust!

Sugar Ice cream Cone Crust

  • 1 Box (12 count) Sugar Ice Cream Cones
  • 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 0z (1 stick) Butter, melted

Break up the sugar cones into your food processor.  Crush until medium fine.  Put into a bowl with the brown sugar and melted butter.  Mix until combined.  Pat the mixture into a 10″ springform pan, on the bottom and only slightly up the sides.

Bake at 350 degree, for 12 minutes.  Let cool.

Creamsicle Cheesecake Filling

  • 3 pounds Cream Cheese (6, 8oz packages, room temperature)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Tblsp plus 1/2 tsp Water
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • Zest of 2 Medium Oranges
  • Juice of one of the Oranges
  • 2 tsp Orange Extract
  • 4 Eggs

Using the paddle attachment mix the cream cheese on low speed.  Scrape bowl frequently, and mix for 15 minutes, until nice and creamy.

Slowly mix in the sugar.  Then in a small bowl mix together the next six ingredients.  Pour into the batter, mix on low speed.  Last, add the eggs, one at a time.  Only mix until combined. This will keep the batter light.  No need to over mix!

Take half of the batter and put it into a bowl, add orange gel food coloring, mix well.  Now pour the orange batter over the vanilla batter and just stir twice with a spatula.  The batter will combine while pouring it into the crust.  You want to keep the “swirl” effect of the colors.Bake in a 350 degree oven, for one hour.  It will jiggle somewhat when it is done.  Let cool for 40 minutes.  If you notice any cracking, mine did, let’s cover that up with this sour cream topping.  If yours didn’t crack, you may want to use this on top too!

Sour Cream Topping (aka: Crack Corrector!)

  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • 2 Tblsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • orange gel food coloring

Mix all ingredients together with a fork, you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air.

While cheesecake is warm pour this over the top, spread to cover.  Now put it back into a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, for it to set up.  Now let it cool, before putting the cheesecake into the refrigerator.  Even if the cheesecake cracks in the frig overnight, I have used this topping on a cold cheesecake, and baked to set the topping, it works too.Don’t see the crack that was in the middle, do you!  I really like the appearance and the flavor of this topping, that’s why I use it on top, even if my cheesecake doesn’t crack.

Now let’s depan the cheesecake.  Here is a tip to doing this easily without anything sticking.  Using your stovetop. put a burner on a medium high flame, roll the pan over the flame quickly and place the pan flat on the burner for half a minute.

Now the cheesecake will come out of the springform pan effortlessly!

The easiest way to cut a cheesecake is with plain dental floss.  No flavored floss, just cut off a piece twice the width of the cheesecake and taking one end with each hand slice into the cake.  The crust may not be cut by this, so warm up your chef knife over a flame and cut down through the crust.  Wiping the blade between the cuts, because this is a creamy cheesecake.

I served this cheesecake with sliced strawberries.  Put a little sugar and freshly squeezed orange juice over the berries.

I think I just heard the ice cream truck, I’ll pass on the ice cream and just savor my Creamsicle cheesecake instead.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for “Creamsicle Cheesecake!”

Lady Blocks (a much easier Lady Lock!)

My boyfriend has been asking me to make him lady locks for quite a while now, I just wasn’t up to spending over 24 hours making puff pastry.  I don’t have the forms to roll the dough around either.  So I was looking through a book, called “Good Cookie”, there is a Rapid Puff Pastry recipe, so I thought, I am going to give it a try.  Let’s see what you think!

Rapid Puff Pastry

  • 1 3/4 Cup Bread Flour
  • 1 3/4 Cup Cake Flour (not self rising)
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 Cups (1 pound) Unsalted Butter (freeze it for a half hour, then cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 Tblsp Ice water

Using the paddle attachment blend the flours and salt at low speed.  Add the cold butter a third at a time.  Just mixing for a few seconds, the mixture will be very crumbly with large pieces of butter.  Now add the ice water, on low speed, only until the dough comes together.

On your floured work table (I used cake flour) Pat the dough into a rough rectangle. Now roll it into a 8″ x 16″ rectangle, lift your dough and flour if needed so it doesn’t stick to the table.   Instead of getting out a measuring tape, measure your rolling pin, mine was a little over 16″ long, but I used it as a guide.

Turn the dough so the short end is facing you, dust off excess flour, use your handy pastry brush, now fold the bottom third of the dough up to the center, dust off excess flour again, now fold top of dough to center.  This is just like folding a business letter! 

Now turn the dough so the open sides are at the top and bottom. (a 90 degree turn) Flour as needed so the dough doesn’t stick.  Now roll out again into a 8″ x 16″ rectangle, repeat with folding the lower third up to the center, dust off excess flour, and fold top of dough over the center.  Hate to repeat myself, but it is important to dust off the excess flour, you want the dough to stick together and excess flour will deter this.  Now that wasn’t so bad, you have just completed two “turns” of the dough.  Hey this rapid puff pastry is quite doable!

Now wrap your dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the dough is in the frig, make your favorite Buttercream recipe, I made vanilla, but feel free to make chocolate, or both.  A recipe calling for 8 oz of butter and 8 oz of Crisco is plenty.

Now place the dough so that the open ends are closest to you.  We will roll the dough as we had done before.  Thus making two more “turns” of the dough.  Just look at the photos above and repeat.  We are now ready to use the puff pastry dough.  Yehawww!!!

If you don’t want to make your Lady Blocks now, the dough can be refrigerated for 3 days, or frozen for a month.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces.  This is when a bench scraper comes in handy.  They are only a couple of bucks, and you will use this more often than you think.

Take each fourth of dough and roll into a 12″ x 12″ square.  Be precise with these measurements because you want all four to be as close to each other in size.  As you roll out one, use a measuring tape and cut off excess.  Don’t throw out the scraps they can be frozen then used for another goodie.  Place square of dough on foil, proceed with other pieces of dough rolling into a 12″x 12″ square and place on foil.  Layer them on top of each other onto a sheet pan.  

Put them into the freezer.  You want the dough to relax and firm up.  So 30 minutes will be plenty of time.   Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Remove 2 sheets from the freezer, keep them on the foil, place onto 2 cookie sheets.  Using a fork prick the dough thoroughly.  Bake them for 8 minutes, now switch trays, top to bottom, bottom to top.  Bake for another 8 minutes.  Take off trays, using the foil and let cool.  Take out of the freezer the other two sheets of puff pastry dough, fork prick them, and bake them as you did the other sheets.  When done take them off the trays using the foil to assist you.  Let them cool thoroughly.  They will be golden brown in color.

When they are cooled take one square of puff pastry and frost it with your buttercream, I used about one cup in between each layer.  Proceed with placing another puff pastry on top, then frost, then place another sheet of puff pastry and frost.  Now leave the top bare.  If you want to use chocolate buttercream, or layers of each vanilla and chocolate.  Whatever you desire!  Put your layered square into the freezer for about a half an hour.  This will make it easier to cut.

Take out your layered square and cut them into rectangles, six cuts down, then four cuts across. You will have 24 rectangles. Use a sharp Chef knife.  They may crumble somewhat, but this will be covered with a generous sprinkle of powdered sugar.  This may seem time consuming, but it is much faster than rolling the dough strips around lady lock forms, let’s not forget the time saver using this Rapid Puff Pastry recipe. The resulting flavor is the same.  They are flaky and creamy with the buttercream layers.

My boyfriend is happy, he is crazy over lady locks, now I have him crazy over Lady Blocks!  So next time someone wants you to make Lady Locks for a party (wedding) tell them you will certainly make Lady Blocks and save yourself some time!

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER S’MORES TARTLETS


Since it has been very hot lately, I have been in the mood for a s’mores.  I didn’t want to light a grill to make them so I thought of an easier way to get the taste I was looking for.  Let me show you how I did it!

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Spray the sides and top of a 12 piece tartlet pan.  About 2 1/2″ each round tartlet.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 package of Graham Crackers (from a box) pulsated to a fine crumb
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 oz melted Butter

Mix together.  Then pat into your tartlet pan, up the sides too.  Bake for 8 minutes, they will be golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filling

  • 12 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (melted)
  • 5 oz Butter (melted)
  • 1/4 Cup Half N’ Half
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (choosy bakers choose Jif!)

Put the egg yolks into a medium size stainless steel bowl.  Put the bowl over a medium flame on the stovetop.  Using a wire whisk, mix continuously.  If the eggs start to curdle take the bowl off the heat, keep whisking and add in the water.  Put back onto flame and whisk until thickened.  Like a hollandaise sauce.  Take off the heat and whisk in the butter.  Strain this through a fine mesh sieve.  Pushing down on the egg mixture to ensure you get it all.  This will strain out any of the curdled egg. (not a texture you want in this dessert!)  Next whisk in the half n’ half, and then the melted chocolate.  Whisk so that this is well incorporated.  Now whisk in the room temperature Jif, make sure to blend well.

I used an ice cream scoop to put the filling into the graham crusts, a spoon would work too.  Smooth the tops and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  You can make these a couple of days in advance, then just make the marshmallow topping the day you want to use them.

Homemade Marshmallow Topping (no jarred Fluff, Please!)

  • 1 (1/4 oz) package of Unflavored Gelatin (Knox)
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla

Put the packet of unflavored gelatin and the water into your mixer bowl, stir with a spoon.  Put the whisk attachment onto your mixer.

Place the sugar, corn syrup, water and dash of salt into a heavy saucepan.  Put this onto a medium high flame.  Have on hands two bowls, one with ice water to test sugar, and one with water and a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the saucepan.  Don’t stir, just brush down sides with wet pastry brush so that you do not get any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan.  

Bring sugars up to 240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer.  I do not, so the old way is wait until the sugars boil, then drizzle some sugar into the ice water bowl.  The sugar will sink to the bottom, pick it up with your fingers and roll it.  If the sugar rolls into a soft ball, then it is ready.  If not wait another minute and try the test again.  The sugar will still be clear and at a rapid boil.  Take off the heat.  Remember this is extremely hot and sticky and will give you a nasty burn!  Be very careful!  

Put your mixer on low speed and pour the hot sugar down the inside of the bowl over the gelatin mixture. You do not want the sugar coming in contact with the whisk of the mixer, because it will splatter hot sugar at you.  Once all the sugar is poured, kick the mixer up to high.  Let it beat for 15 minutes.  It is pretty cool to watch the clear sugar turn into white fluffy marshmallow.  This is because the whisk attachment is aerating the hot sugar and cooling it off.  (Photo is looking into the mixer.)

After the 15 minutes, turn off mixer and add the vanilla extract.  Mix in for another minute.  The mixture will be warm, let it cool a little longer in the bowl, about fifteen minutes, then scoop it into a pastry bag, just cut the tip. ( I piped the marshmallow when it was warm and it didn’t hold its shape as well as when it was cooler.)  Pipe the mixture over the tarts, try to stay away from the sides, this will make for easy de-panning of the tarts.

You want to brown the marshmallow tops in a broiler, watch them carefully. A kitchen torch would be super if you have one.  They will burn quickly just like a marshmallow over a campfire.  I rather like mine burnt and crunchy on top!  I had to eat one without the marshmallow topping, craving was too strong!

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  To release the tarts take a spatula and run it around each tart to loosen them.  Eat them now or they can be kept in refrigerator for a day. (The dark brown looks like a smiley face, kind of!)

Gooey marshmallow, creamy chocolate peanut butter and a brown sugar graham crust.  Sit around the kitchen table and sing “Kumbayay” while eating these Chocolate Peanut Butter S’mores Tartlets!

Here is a tip:  I have had a few of these in the refrigerator, out of curiosity I put one into the microwave for 20 seconds, it turns into a warm gooey s’mores, give it a try!

HONEY CARAMEL WALNUT BARS

I love nuts!  Matter of fact I have been called one at times!   Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, pine nuts, any kind would be great in this recipe.  What would be the best pairing with toasted nuts?  How about caramel, better yet, a honey caramel.  Let me show you how to make these candy/cookie bars.

First the crust:

Sweet Pastry Dough 

  • 18 0z Flour ( 1# and 2 0z)
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar (on the heavy side)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 10 oz Butter (cold and sliced up)
  • 3 0z Crisco
  • 3 Egg Yolks mixed with 1/3 Cup Water

I use this crust for everything, I just love the slight sweetness and texture of it!

Put the first five ingredients into your mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix until it forms a crumb.  Then pour in the egg yolks and water mixture.  Mix only until combined.

Pat into a 10″ x 15″ metal pan, with at least 2″ sides.  Pat the dough up the sides too.  Pierce all over with a fork and put into the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Put into a preheated 350 degree oven, bake for 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.


There is that visible butter smear.  This is what you want, your crust will be wonderfully flaky.  That is why you do not want to over mix the dough.

Honey Caramel Filling

  • 1 # Walnuts (or your favorite nut, not Uncle Chuck!)
  • 8 0z Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 1/4 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

Warning Alert:  When working with hot sugars(caramels) be very careful, these will burn your skin terribly.

Toast the walnuts on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, until you smell them.  This brings out the flavor of the nut!

Put the next four ingredients into a medium large heavy saucepan.  Make sure it is big enough because the sugars will boil up when it is heated.

Put the saucepan over a medium high flame.  Using a wooden spoon to stir these ingredients continuously.  Don’t leave it unattended.  Set up a bowl of ice water nearby, I don’t have a candy thermometer so I do it the old way.  If you do have a candy thermometer it has to reach 250 degrees, also known as the Hard Ball Stage.  The old way to test the temperature of the caramel is to drop a drizzle of the boiling sugars into the ice water.  It will drop to the bottom of the ice water, then take your fingers and pick up the cooled drizzle of sugar.  Roll it together with your fingers, if it feels semi hard to the touch it is ready. When the mixture looks foamy and is rapidly boiling you are approaching “The Hard Ball Stage”, this is when you can do the ice water test.

Take off the heat and stand back as you pour the heavy cream into the hot sugars. It will sputter, so stay out of harms way.  When the foaming has subsided, mix it together with the wooden spoon.  Pour in the walnuts and stir until well combined.

Pour the filling over the pre-baked crust.  Spread it evenly with your wooden spoon or a spatula.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Be very careful taking it out of the oven, remember this caramel is hot!  If it spills onto your skin the caramel will stick and the burn is awful.  I have had this happen to me, I learned my lesson to be extra cautious when working with hot sugars and caramels.

Looking awfully nutty!  A nice golden brown color.  Let it cool completely at room temperature before cutting it.  This will take a few hours.  If you want the caramel to be a little bit chewier, after it has cooled you can put it into the refrigerator for a few hours.

I cut some into bars and some into squares, then cut the square diagonally to make some triangles.  These are a great addition to a cookie platter.  I  also like to use them as a base for an ice cream sundae, put two pieces in the bottom of a bowl, top with ice cream and then drizzle chocolate and caramel sauce over it.

They could be considered a candy because of the caramel, yet they could be considered a cookie because of the crust.  The texture is crunchy from the nuts, silkiness from the honey caramel and a tender flakiness from the crust.  I think you will go nuts over these!