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Cheesecake-stuffed Dark Chocolate Cake

Here is the recipe I used for the absolutely yummy chocolate cake I made for Thanksgiving.  It came from the Christmas with Southern Living 2007 cookbook.  Some tips that might help you if you make this cake: The recipe calls for three cans of frosting, but I needed almost four.  Luckily, I had that extra one in my pantry!  Also, when you frost the outside of the cake I recommend a “crumb coat”.  Put a very thin layer of frosting all over the cake (you should be able to see the cake pretty clearly through the layer.)  Then refrigerate for about 30 minutes.  Then use the rest of the frosting to completely cover that layer.  This step will keep all the chocolate crumbs from mixing into your frosting.  Enjoy!

Cheesecake-Stuffed Dark Chocolate Cake

Unsweetened cocoa

1 (18.25 oz) package devil’s food cake mix

1 (3.4 oz) package chocolate instant pudding mix

3 large eggs

1 ¼ cups milk

1 cup canola oil

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1 ½ tsp. chocolate extract (optional)

1 tsp. almond extract

3 (1.55 oz) milk chocolate bars, chopped

3 (16 oz) cans homestyle cream cheese frosting

3 (7.75 oz) boxes frozen cheesecake bites, coarsely chopped (I used Sara Lee)

1 (12 oz) jar dulce de leche caramel sauce (I used Smuckers)

Double Chocolate rolled wafer cookies, coarsely broken

Chocolate Fudge rolled wafer cookies, coarsely broken

Grease 2 (9”) round cake pans, and dust with cocoa.  Beat cake mix and next 7 ingredients at low speed with an electric mixer 1 minute; then beat at medium speed 2 minutes.  Fold in chopped milk chocolate bars.  Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 32 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.  Cool cake in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks.  Wrap and chill cake layers at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. (This step enables you to split cake layers with ease.)

Using a serrated knife, slice cake layers in half horizontally to make 4 layers.  Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a cake plate.  Spread with ½ cup cream cheese frosting; sprinkle with one-fourth of chopped cheesecake bites.  Repeat procedure with remaining 3 layers, frosting and cheesecake bites, omitting cheesecake bites on top of last layer.  Frost sides and top of cake with remaining frosting.

Drizzle desired amount of caramel sauce over cake, letting it drip down sides.  Decorate cake with rolled wafer cookies and remaining chopped cheesecake bites.  Store in refrigerator.  Yield: 12 servings.