For those of us with a sweet tooth or several, dessert is the most important part of the meal. Fortunately we don't have it very often or we'd be hard pressed to fit through the door; however, Monday night's party was a great reason to celebrate with more than one sweet ending for the meal.
The first and dare I say most popular dessert choice was an idea borrowed from a favorite Canadian blog I follow called Dinner with Julie. Hit the link and it'll take you directly to her site to see her version of these lovely little cheesecakes in a jar. After seeing it on her site, I did a little exploring and found another version thanks to Martha Stewart Living which showcases a baked cheesecake that turned out to be light and fluffy with a very smooth texture thanks in no small part to the fact it bakes at a fairly low temperature in a water bath.
Topped with cherries and buttered graham wafer crumbs, it tastes like a mini version of the real McCoy only better because it is totally portable.
Second choice was a mini size version of the Pina Colada cupcakes we've enjoyed here before. Loaded with rummy goodness, they're a simple cake made from a mix and jazzed up with booze and butter and cooked up in 24 medium sized muffin cups. After baking they're bathed in a mixture of Coco Lopez cream of coconut and more rum of course, and then "marinate" for a day in the refrigerator. Before serving, top 'em with crushed pineapple, whipped cream and toasted coconut and you'll be sure to impress even the most hard core dessert officiandos. Be sure to limit consumption though or you'll have to send the over imbibers home in a cab (plus you'll want to hide a few to keep for a midnight refrigerator raid).
Last but definitely not least are little chocolate cupcakes we normally make in a large cake pan and call 'em "Sex in a Pan". Once again made from a mix using the same method as with the Pina Colada version above, the still warm cupcakes are filled with an ooey gooey sweet mixture of caramel ice cream topping and sweetened condensed milk before they hit the fridge to ruminate. Best ignored for at least a day, they're topped with freshy whipped cream and pieces of a Heath or Score bar before serving. Suffice to say, they're a chocolate/caramel lover's version of nirvana and just so flippin' easy to make it's ridiculous.
That's it people. Bet you all thought I really fussed, didn't ya? All the desserts were made the day before the party, decorated long before the guests arrived and kept in the refrigerator until serving time. In case you're wondering, my secret to keeping the whipped cream intact is to freeze the bowl and beater to make sure it's really, really cold before you whip the cream. As well, be sure to use powdered confectioner's sugar (a heaping tablespoon per cup of cream) rather than granulated because the cornstarch in the sugar will help stabilize the cream.
Pina Colada Cupcakes (adapted from Gulfshore Delights, The Junior League of Ft. Myers)
1 package yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines ..is there any other kind?)
2/3 cup light rum
3 large eggs
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 – 15 ounce can Coco Lopez (cream of coconut)
1/3 cup light rum
1 – 8 ounce can crushed pineapple well drained
Whipped Topping or Whipped Cream
1 cup coconut, toasted
Preheat oven to 350. Line 24 muffin cups with aluminum foil liners and set aside. Using an electric mixer, combine cake mix, rum, eggs and softened butter. Beat at medium speed for 5 minutes. Distribute evenly between muffin cups and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. (The cakes may fall but don’t worry – they’ll be fine). Leave cakes in pan and cool on wire rack. Meanwhile combine cream of coconut and rum together. Using a melon baller or small spoon, remove a scoop of cake from center of each cupcake, leaving sides and bottom of cake intact. Pour rum/cream of coconut mixture slowly into the hole created in each cake, distributing evenly between the 24 cupcakes. Repeat this several times until all of the mixture has been used. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Before serving, top each cake with a spoonful of crushed pineapple, followed by a mound of whipped cream. Garnish with more toasted coconut. Makes 24 servings.
Note – may be made in a 9 x 13 inch pan (bake for 35 minutes). When cake has cooled slightly poke holes in top with a skewer, then pour cream of coconut rum mixture over top of warm cake, then cover and refrigerate. Top cake with crushed pineapple, followed by whipped topping and garnish with toasted coconut. Keeps well in refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.
Sex In A Pan (from JBug’s Kitchen adapted from Best of the Best from Iowa)
1 dark chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 – 12 ounce jar caramel ice cream topping
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
Whipped cream or whipped topping
2 Heath (or Skor) bars, broken into pieces
Make cake mix according to package directions and bake in 24 aluminum foil lined muffin cups. Cool on wire racks. Meanwhile combine caramel topping and sweetened condensed milk and heat until warm. When cupcakes are still slightly warm, using a melon baller or small spoon, remove a small portion of cake from the center of the cup leaving bottom and sides intact. Pour heated topping into indentation and repeat process several times. There may be some caramel mixture left over but it’s great on ice cream or crepes (or both). Cover and refrigerate cupcakes overnight. Before serving top each cupcake with whipped cream and garnish with a piece of Heath or Skor bar. Makes 24.
A year ago - Pasta with Bacon, Clams and Mushrooms
Two year's ago - Baked Huevos Rancheros