6 Layer Chocolate Cake with Marshmallow and Malt Frostings

I require three cakes for my birthday.  For those of you that know me, this will not come as a surprise.  The tradition started years ago when my employer, my parents, and Matt would each get me a cake.  Now that I am a freelancer, I am my own employer so it only makes sense that I should either purchase myself or make myself a cake.  This is called “Barb Logic”.

This year, my parents bought me an ice cream cake from Cold Stone, and Matt’s family got me a double chocolate layer cake from a local bakery.  The third cake simply had to be an over-the-top masterpiece, and it seems that I’m not the only person that does this sort of thing.  The author of the blog, browneyedbaker.com, where I found this recipe also made it for herself for her birthday.  Great minds think alike.

Recipe:

Cake

  • 2½ cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1½ cups strong black coffee, hot
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Toasted Marshmallow Filling

  • 16 large marshmallows
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (7½-ounce) jar Marshmallow Fluff

Malted Chocolate Frosting

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup Ovaltine Classic
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup heavy cream

 

  • Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the insides of the pans, tapping out excess; set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer (or large mixing bowl if you’re using a hand mixer), sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).
  • Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
  • Make the Toasted Marshmallow Filling: Place the marshmallows on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place on the lowest rack of oven, and broil marshmallows until nice and brown on top, keeping an eye on them the entire time so they don’t burn. Remove pan from oven and gently turn the marshmallows over, and broil until the other side is golden brown.
  • Beat the butter and powdered sugar on low-speed until blended together, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and increase the speed to medium-high; beat for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, add the Marshmallow Fluff and toasted marshmallows, and mix on the lowest speed for about 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Make the Malted Chocolate Frosting: Beat the butter and powdered sugar on low-speed until blended together, about 1 minute. Add the Ovaltine, vanilla and salt, and continue to beat on low until well combined, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and beat on medium-high speed for another minute.
  • Assemble the Cake: Slice each cake layer in half horizontally so you have six cake layers. Place your first layer face-up on a cake plate and cover with one-third of the Toasted Marshmallow Frosting. Place another cake layer face-up and cover with about ¾ to 1 cup of Malted Chocolate Frosting. Repeat, alternating marshmallow and chocolate filling layers, until you come to your cake final layer, which you will place face-down. Frost the entire outside of cake with the remaining Malted Chocolate Frosting.

On a side note – I snapped the photo right after I put the cake together.  As the day went on, it continued to lean and before I knew it, it looked like the Leaning Tower of Pisa.  Thankfully crooked cakes taste just as good as straight ones!  I highly recommend this cake.  It’s super moist and incredibly rich, and it’s the perfect masterpiece for an over-the-top birthday girl with crazy logic.

3 Musketeers Pie

The boy loves 3 Musketeer Bars, and as a result, I’ve used them in all kinds of recipes: 3 Musketeer Cupcakes, 3 Musketeer Brownies, and homemade 3 Musketeer Bars.  I thought I’d run out of ideas on ways to incorporate my child’s favorite candy bar into a dessert until I stumbled on to a recipe for a 3 Musketeers Pie!  What luck.

This pie really leaves an impression; it’s so silky, smooth, and rich, and it’s like the inside of a 3 Musketeers bar, only creamier.  You know, I made it just two weeks ago for a “Puttin’ on the Dog” dinner, and it’s all I remember from that meal.  I couldn’t begin to tell you what else I served that night.  I loved it.  But Gray and Matt, that’s a different story.  They both thought it was too rich; but seriously, what do they know.  I’d make it again in a heartbeat!

3 Musketeers Pie courtesy of simplybudgeted.com

  • 2 packages 3 Musketeers Unwrapped Bites
  • 8 ounce softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup powder sugar
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • Oreo Pie Shell

Place 3 Musketeers Bites into a food processor and process until it comes together into a smooth ball.  Mix this with the cream cheese, powder sugar, and Cool Whip until smooth.  Pour into the pie shell and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  When ready to serve, pull out of refrigerator, cut into slices, garnish as you’d like (I drizzled hot fudge and added whip cream), and devour!  That’s what I did, and after that I finished off Gray’s piece.

 

Baptism Cake

A few weeks ago, Gray was baptized by Matt’s dad.

But before we scheduled the event, we had to make sure everyone could attend — my parents, my sister and her family, Matt’s parents, Matt’s sister and her family, and Matt’s brother.  This was important because, according to Gray, there needed to be a party afterwards.  I had to agree; if ever a boy deserved a party, it was after being baptized.  And there had to be cake…..and cupcakes…..and Kaysie had to make them.  I was surprised he didn’t ask for chicken pot pie too.  No worries there either, his Papaw showed up with one.

The day prior, Kaysie arrived with her mom and dad prepared to get to work.  I baked the cupcakes and cakes earlier in the day so that they would be cooled and ready for her to decorate.  It was an all afternoon affair, and Gray was in and out of the kitchen, making suggestions, and of course, testing the product.

Kaysie and my mom have become experts at cake decorating.  They took a class together last summer (I think), and now they tackle all kinds of cake projects together.  They make a great team, and they both swear by the Wilton Buttercream Icing recipe when it comes to decorating cakes.

Check out the final product.

It was a day of celebrating with good food, family, and lots of cake.  The boy was floating on air.

And when it was bedtime, I sent him upstairs to take a shower.  “But I don’t want to wash it off,” he replied.  Oh the sweetness of that moment with my 10 year old boy will last me a lifetime.

 

Drive In Movie Night

We are strategically located out in the middle of nowhere; it takes a little over 20 minutes to get just about anywhere – school, the gym, the grocery – but it takes a mere 18 minutes to get to the drive in!  It had been several years since our last trip to the Highway 50 Drive In, and I’m not exactly what caused Matt to look and see what was playing, but I’m certainly glad he did.  We saw Cars 3 (loved it) and Wonder Woman (didn’t love it) and had a terrific time snuggled in the back of the truck with pillows, blankets, games, and snacks.

When I was telling Matt the menu I’d chosen, I could tell he was less than thrilled.  “But I want bar-type food,” he said.  “How in the world am I going to serve fancy burgers and cheese fries at a drive in?” I replied.  “They don’t allow grills or fryers there, and the food would be cold and soggy if I made it at home and then packed it up to eat there.”  Perhaps it was that I tried to make the menu somewhat healthy with a fattening dessert, but give me some credit here because I did pack real Coke and Doritos too.

Grilled Chicken Sandwiches

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (I used thin chicken breasts)
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 ciabatta rolls halved as for sandwiches (I used sub rolls)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons Sun-Dried Tomato Spread
  • 6 tablespoons pesto (I skipped this part because Matt’s not a big fan)
  • 6 slices fresh mozzarella

Lay out the chicken thighs and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper.  Heat grill to medium. When the grill is up to temperature, lay out the chicken thighs. Grill the thighs, turning a couple of times, for 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 165°F. Just before removing the chicken from the grill, lay out one slice of mozzarella over each chicken thigh. While that begins to melt, drizzle olive oil over the cut sides of the ciabatta rolls and lay them directly on the grill. When the cheese is hot all the way through, use a spatula to transfer the thighs and toasted rolls to a platter.  Spread 1 tablespoon of the Sun-Dried Tomato spread on the bottom, half of each roll, then 1 tablespoon of the pesto on the top half of each roll. Use a spatula to transfer one chicken thigh, melted cheese side up onto each roll’s bottom half. Position the top half, pesto side down, on the chicken. If desired, slice the sandwich in half on the diagonal. Serve hot, warm, or room temperature.

 

 

Pasta Salad

  • 8 ounces spiral pasta
  • 8 ounces green beans
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 cups baby arugula (I used spinach)
  • 2 ounces feta cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions, adding green beans during last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and run under cold water to cool.  Using a vegetable peeler, remove 3 strips of zest from lemon; thinly slice. In a large bowl, squeeze 2 tablespoon lemon juice. Whisk in olive oil, Parmesan, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Add pasta, green beans, and lemon zest and toss to coat. Fold in arugula and feta.

Double Layer Brownie

Brownie Ingredients

  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Fudge Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 12 ounces evaporated milk
  • 7 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 12 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Butter 13×9-inch pan. Melt chocolate and butter in small heavy saucepan over low heat, stirring until completely melted; cool.  Beat sugar and eggs in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually whisk chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Stir in flour, walnuts, and vanilla. Spread evenly in prepared pan.  Bake 20-25 minutes or just until set. Do not over bake.

Meanwhile, prepare Fudge Topping.  Combine sugar, butter and milk in large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat; boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add remaining ingredients except for the walnuts. Beat until smooth.  Remove brownies from oven. Immediately pour topping evenly over hot brownies. Cool in pan on wire rack. Place in freezer until firm. Cut into 1-inch squares.

Everything was delicious – especially the brownies!  But of course we still had to hit the concession stand for hot buttered popcorn.  And next time, I’ll try harder at the bar-type food.  I don’t think I can make nachos work, but I could try taco dip.  That’s pretty close.

Dirt Pudding

I went through a period where whenever I was visiting home and my mom would ask me what I wanted to eat, I’d always respond with “Dirt Pudding”.  My mom would use this giant spoon to serve it with, then Kaysie and I would have a contest where we’d try to shove the entire spoon, of course filled with dirt pudding, in our mouths.  As time went on, that tradition became known as “The Aunt Barbie”, and now whenever the giant spoon is used, someone has to try to stuff the entire thing in their mouth.

Matt, Gray, and I visited my parents this past weekend, and the giant spoon was used to serve the corn pudding.  When I told Kaysie I thought I’d write a blog post about dirt pudding and the giant spoon, she graciously agreed to demonstrate our special skill.  She’s such a good sport.

Of all the things I’ve taught her — playing lookie with her food, being a zit, the meaning of contraband — this is the one thing I’m most proud of.

Now to the recipe.  A while back we were invited to a cookout, and of course, I was slotted to bring dessert.  When I asked for requests, my only instruction was to perhaps make two — one of the families coming had 8 kids! That’s when I thought of dirt pudding — it’s easy, and it can feed lots of people.

Dirt Pudding

  • 1 (14 ounce) bag Oreo cookies
  • 2 (3 1/2 ounce) packages French vanilla instant pudding
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 14 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 (12 ounce) container Cool Whip, thawed

 

Break up cookies, put 1/2 on bottom of casserole dish and save other 1/2 for topping.  Mix pudding and milk together, set aside.  Mix sugar, cream cheese and butter.  Add sugar mixture to pudding; fold in cool whip.  Pour onto cookies, top with remaining cookies.  Chill until ready to serve.

 

Chicken Saltimbocca

This recipe comes from my favorite cookbook and was among one of the first ‘dog’ meals I made for Matt many, many years ago.  I didn’t realize it was one of his favorites and that it’s on his ‘this is on the menu if we ever open a restaurant’ list.  I just decided to make it because we hadn’t had it in ages, and it sounded good to me.

Chicken Saltimbocca

  • 1 10 ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 chicken cutlets, pounded to flatten evenly
  • 6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 can chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Squeeze the frozen spinach to remove the excess water.  In a small bowl, toss the spinach with 1 tablespoon oil to coat and season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Place chicken on a work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Lay 1 slice prosciutto atop each cutlet.  Arrange an even layer of spinach on top and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Beginning at the short tapered end, roll up each cutlet as for a jelly roll and secure with a toothpick.

In a large skillet, heat the remaining oil over a high flame.  Add the chicken rolls and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Add the broth and lemon juice and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 4 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to 6 plates and set aside.  Increase the heat to high and cook the sauce until reduced to about 2/3 cup.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Of course, no ‘dog’ meal would be complete without a gooey, disgusting dessert.  Say hello to the Oreo White Chocolate Cookie Pie.  To die for!

  • 1 unbaked 9″ deep-dish pie shell
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup Oreo crumbs
  • 8 quartered Oreo cookies

Preheat oven to 325° F. Beat the eggs in large mixer bowl on high speed until foamy. Add in the flour, Oreo crumbs, brown sugar, white sugar and vanilla. Beat in butter until combined. Stir in the white chocolate chips. Put mixture into pie shell and even the mixture out in the shell. Put the quartered Oreo cookies on top of the pie and push them in about halfway. Bake for 60 minutes.

Of course, it wasn’t gooey enough on its own so I topped it with ice cream (chocolate) and hot fudge.  As my dad always says, “If I’m going to eat the devil, I might as well drink his broth.”

Texas Cake

Gray’s teacher loves Pinterest, and periodically she ties some sort of project she’s found in with a lesson the class is working on.  This year, geography focused on the United States, learning states and capitals, lakes and rivers, and landmarks.  As a wrap up, she decided to put all the states in a hat and let each child pull one out and do a project on it – both a written report and some sort of visual aid.  Gray got Texas.

As we started gathering information, I asked him if he had any idea what he wanted to do with the visual portion because I too am a lover of Pinterest, and if he didn’t have an idea, I was going to take to my favorite source of all things crafty for inspiration.  But my boy did have an idea — he wanted to make a cake in the shape of Texas.  I was so proud.  Of course, we decided to run this past his teacher to make sure his visual portion could be edible, and well, she loved the idea too.

Gray is no stranger to making cakes; he makes one every year for the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet.  Here was this year’s entry:

So this past Wednesday night, Gray made 2 9×13 chocolate sheet cakes.

Then Thursday night, we cut the cake and shaped it into the state of Texas.  I say we because it took all three of us cutting, placing, and gluing with frosting to get the shape just right.  Then Gray piped on the frosting, and Matt and I smoothed it out.  (We had to – trying to spread frosting on the cut sides of a cake is difficult — even for an adult!)

A remarkable likeness, I have to say.

And one kid that was extremely proud of his project!

I stopped by class after lunch on Friday to help serve the cake.  Based on the rave reviews of the students, not only in fourth grade but also those in seventh grade and the headmaster who also managed to score cake, his project definitely deserved an A.  And of course, I would completely agree.