Tag Archives: dessert

Making Cake Mix Your Own: A Guide to Baking With Two Ingredients


-Rache’ll Brown

I’ll admit it, I am a lazy baker. I always try to find recipes with the least amount of ingredients, and my online search history is mainly, “how to make cookies/cupcakes/brownies without eggs/butter” (I don’t keep a lot of necessary baking items on hand—sorry).

A few weeks ago I was searching Pinterest for an easy recipe, as per usual. Suddenly, I stumbled upon something groundbreaking: two-ingredient cake. All that’s needed is a can of crushed pineapple and boxed Angel Food cake mix. Then I remembered that when I was younger, my mom used to make pumpkin muffins with boxed yellow cake mix and a can of pumpkin puree. This made me wonder: how many modified boxed cake recipes are there? So I did my research, and now I am going to share it with the masses. You’re welcome.

Out of everything I found, one recipe in particular was screaming my name. One box of Funfetti cake mix, some Greek yogurt, water, and that’s it! I’ve never had a bad experience while subbing yogurt for oil; my baked goods are usually moist and delicious after using this technique, so I decided to give it a try. I did my own variation, one with a box of Devil’s Food cake mix, one cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt, and one cup of water. I baked according to box directions, and it was delicious. Other options? Combine a box of Angel Food Cake with a can of pie filling—cherry, blueberry, lemon, etc. Also, dark cake mix with a can of coke, or light cake mix with a can of 7-Up apparently creates an airy treat. Regard the Internet for more inquiries.

So next time you’re in need of a cake, skip the eggs and oil for a more minimalistic approach. There really is no way to mess up a two-ingredient cake, so go forth and prosper—cake mix awaits you!

Rita’s Super Moist Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting


-Rache’ll Brown

I love going home. Not because I get to see my two beautiful Boxers and my loving parents—although that is a plus—but because I have free reign over a fully stocked kitchen to make anything I can dream of. And of course the only thing I ever want to make is, well, cake (which I can attribute to the strange amount of cake-themed music I listen to). So while I was home for spring break, I grabbed my mom’s cookbook and found her friend Rita’s cake recipe, which is a family favorite, and got to work.

Rita’s Super Moist Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
½ tsp salt
1 stick of unsalted butter
½ cup of vegetable oil
1 cup Water
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup of buttermilk
1 tsp of baking soda

Peanut Butter Frosting

6 tbsp of unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup of peanut butter
1 cup of confectioners’ sugar

#1 First, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl and set it aside. Next, put the butter, vegetable oil, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, and then add in the cocoa powder and mix until dissolved. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, and stir until combined.

#2 Next, mix the buttermilk and baking soda in a separate container, then add it in with the rest of the ingredients and stir until the batter is smooth. This batter will be extremely wet and runny, so don’t worry about it—it seems like it’s all wrong, but the result is a super moist cake that is out of this world.

#3 Put the mixture into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched, and the cake has started to pull away from the sides of the pan.

#4 Once the cake has finished baking, let it cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting. And when the cake is cooling, it is the perfect time to whip together the most mouth watering and simple peanut butter frosting. In a medium bowl, cream together room temperature butter and peanut butter (hint: while measuring peanut butter, spray the measuring cup with a little Pam first to prevent it from sticking).

#5 Once the wet ingredients are light and fluffy, slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar. It might seem clumpy and thick at first, but the longer it is beaten, the creamier it gets. Stick the frosting in the fridge until the cake is completely cooled, and then smooth it on in a thick layer.

This cake is so unbelievably moist, delicious, and easy to make that I will literally never make a boxed cake again. The peanut butter frosting is a perfect compliment to the chocolate cake (which isn’t too rich. The cake has a subtle flavor with an out-of-this-world texture), and I can guarantee there isn’t a human on this planet that would dislike this delicious recipe.

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It's All Greek To Me: How to Make Baklava

-Eleni Pappelis

Having been brought up with a Greek heritage, one thing I have come to appreciate is the great food Greeks make. Baklava is a type of honey pastry and is also a Greek delicacy that I have enjoyed my whole life. To truly call myself Greek, I baked this easy dessert!


One 16 ounce  package phyllo dough
1 pound chopped nuts of your choice
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of a 9×13 inch pan.

2. Chop nuts and toss them in with the cinnamon. Set that aside.

3. Unroll the phyllo dough. Cut the whole stack in half to fit pan. Cover the phyllo with a dampened cloth to keep it from drying out as you work. Place two sheets of dough in the pan, and butter them thoroughly. Repeat until you have 8 sheets layered. Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of nut mixture on top. Top it with two sheets of dough, butter, and nuts, layering as you go. The top layer should be about 6 to 8 sheets deep.

4. Using a sharp knife, cut the layers into diamond or square shapes all the way to the bottom of the pan. You may cut it into 4 long rows the make diagonal cuts.

5. Bake it for about 50 minutes, or until the baklava is golden and crisp.

6. Make the sauce while baklava is baking. Boil sugar and water until the sugar is melted. Add vanilla and honey. Simmer for about 20 minutes.

7. Remove the baklava from the oven and immediately spoon sauce over it. Let it cool. Serve in cupcake papers. This freezes well. Leave it uncovered as it gets soggy if it is wrapped up.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream

-Marissa Tomko

Eating pumpkin during autumn and winter is just a thing that everyone does. I have fought my love for pumpkin-flavored treats for almost twenty years until I finally realized it was a losing battle. Nothing else tastes quite as festive! Plus, with all of the rain we get here in the Northwest, it’s nice to be able to hold a little bit of warmth right there in your own hand! Admittedly, I am not much of a baker. However, I have been inspired to try my hand at this whole baking thing. I stumbled upon KG Cookin’ Cupcakes, a blog run by a UO student who is all about baking cupcakes. Enter my new favorite fall-time indulgence: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Chai Buttercream, a recipe by KG.


1 1/2 cup flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
A few shakes of cinnamon
2 eggs
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
A splash of vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the eggs one at a time and blend until incorporated. Mix in the vanilla and pumpkin. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, alternating with additions of milk. Blend until fully incorporated. Divide among lined muffin tins and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Let cool completely before icing.


1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
3 cups powdered sugar
Splash of vanilla
A couple shakes of cinnamon
About 1/4 cup chai concentrate (KG used Oregon Chai. This depends on taste and consistency: the more chai, the more runny the buttercream will be)

Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar until incorporated. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, and the chai and blend until light and fluffy. If the frosting gets too runny, add some powdered sugar. Spoon or pipe the mixture onto completely cooled cupcakes.

Happy baking!

Image from http://kgcookincupcakes.blogspot.com/

A Solitary Snack: Cake For One

-Rache’ll Brown

I have a massive sweet tooth. Honestly, it’s a problem. I am constantly craving sugar, and sometimes exercising self-control can be hard, but I’ve discovered the perfect solution: Cake in a Cup! While browsing Pinterest, I discovered Chocolate-Covered Katie and her Single Lady Cupcakes, which inspired me to create a healthier, single-serving dessert for myself.

Cake in a Cup
3 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
1 packet of sugar-free hot chocolate (or normal hot chocolate!)
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
Splash of vanilla (I never measure!)
1 tablespoon of sugar-free applesauce (or vegetable oil, if you aren’t trying to be fat-free)
Water (Just add enough to make the batter wet – the constancy shouldn’t be super thick and pasty, but it shouldn’t be really runny and thin!)

Mix all of the ingredients together directly in your mug, and then microwave for one minute. Sometimes I add colorful sprinkles on top, but usually the plain old cake is good enough for me! Of course you can substitute different ingredients to tailor the dessert to match your taste – you could omit the hot chocolate mix for a more plain cake, or add chocolate chips, sugar or nuts for more flavor. You could also use pumpkin or banana instead of applesauce for a more autumnal feel.

The best thing about this recipe is how easy it is to alter it to create a dessert that fits whatever you are craving, and since it is only one serving, you don’t have to worry about the leftovers haunting you from the kitchen! So, the next time you are craving a little something sweet, reach for a mug and create a cake in a cup. It’s simple and delicious, and you probably have all of the ingredients on hand anyway.

My 5 Favorite Dessert Places in Eugene

-Whitney Menefee

Ever since I moved to Eugene last fall I have been to more dessert places than I’m willing to admit. From ice cream parlors to pastry shops, I have eaten at them all. It is truly amazing how many quality handmade dessert spots there are in Eugene. I have found that the new trending theme for Eugene dessert shops is making their desserts healthier as well as providing organic, vegan, and gluten-free options for their customers. After over a year of adventuring through many different dessert spots, I have finally come up with a list of my top five favorite dessert shops in Eugene. Are you ready?

Here they are:

#1 Vanilla Jill’s Frozen Yogurt

Vanilla Jill’s is a locally owned dessert shop known for its handmade organic frozen yogurt. The organic froyo shop has vegan, sugar-free, and gluten-free options. My personal favorite is the Vegan Vanilla flavor with dairy-free chocolate chips. If you are not a chocolate chip fan, don’t worry! They also have a variety of local fruit toppings! Vanilla Jill’s has three Eugene locations. For UO students, their most convenient location is on East 24th Avenue and Hilyard Street, next to Sundance Natural Foods.

#2 Sweet Life Patisserie

Located on 755 Monroe Street, Sweet Life Patisserie is an organic pastry shop with a wide range of handmade baked goods. Sweet Life is known for its locally grown ingredients and allergy-friendly dessert options. They have egg-free, dairy-free, vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free pastries. My favorite Sweet Life dessert is the egg-free, gluten-free pumpkin pie. It will definitely be a dessert option at my house this Thanksgiving!

#3 Goody’s

Goody’s is an ice cream and candy shop that is new to Eugene. All of its candy and ice cream is handmade from scratch at the Goody’s factory in Bend, Oregon. They have over one hundred different types of candy options as well as a wide range of ice cream flavors. I’m from Bend, so I have grown up eating Goody’s ice cream and candy since I was little, and my favorite dessert has always been the chocolate-covered gummy bears. So delicious! Goody’s is located on 296 East 5th Avenue at the 5th Street Public Market.

#4 Prince Puckler’s Gourmet Ice Cream

Conveniently close to the UO campus, Prince Puckler’s is located on East 19th Avenue and Agate Street. Prince Puckler’s is one of my favorite dessert shops in Eugene because their ice cream is the creamiest handmade ice cream I have ever had! My favorite flavor is the Oreo cookie ice cream. It may not be organic or vegan, but it’s delicious!

#5 The Divine Cupcake

The Divine Cupcake has two locations in Eugene. I always go to the cart location on the corner of East 5th Avenue and Pearl Street. All of the baked goods are organic and vegan and can also be made gluten-free, soy-free, or nut-free. One of my favorite treats at The Divine Cupcake is the cake pops because they are beautiful, sparkly, and delicious!

Celebrate the Season with a Pumpkin Treat

-Rache’ll Brown

Anytime someone mentions fall, my brain automatically goes to turning leaves and pumpkin treats. So, on a Saturday morning while scrolling through Pinterest, a certain recipe caught my eye: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles.

Growing up, anytime I had the opportunity to make cookies, I usually chose snickerdoodles. Something about taking little dough balls and rolling them in cinnamon sugar is just so fun, and when I saw the combination of one of my favorite cookies and favorite fall flavors (Seriously, September through December I am fueled off pumpkin), I knew I had to make them.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles:

3 3/4 cups flour (For a traditional taste, use all-purpose, but I subbed with whole wheat which created a different flavor)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

The process is easy enough. First, mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl, and then cream together the wet ingredients in a second bowl with a hand blender. Combine them thoroughly, adding the flour in a little bit at a time, and then let the dough chill covered in the fridge for about an hour. In the mean time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and mix together ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl. You’ll also need a flat cup with a slightly moistened bottom to flatten the cookie balls on the sheet. Once the dough is chilled, scoop about 2 tablespoons out at a time and create small balls.

Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar mix, place on a cookie tray, and then flatten with the bottom of your cup.

After baking for 10 to 12 minutes, take out and place on a cooling rack. Or, like me, you can enjoy straight out of the oven with a cold glass of almond milk. This makes a huge batch! I made twenty-four cookies and still had to freeze half of the dough (which lasts four to six weeks, if you are wondering). These are the perfect treat for a cool autumn night, and are even better when shared with friends.

FLUX's Guide to a Perfect Valentine's Day Meal

– Madeline Dickerson

I’m sure all of you lovebirds are aware, but Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. A lot of you will go out on the town for fancy, overly priced meals, but braving what restaurant industry people call “amateur night” has never been my style. I’d much rather cuddle up with my Valentine for a movie night and delicious homemade meal complete with cocktail and dessert. So why not save some dough and do just that this holiday? I can almost promise it will be more impressive than spending two minutes calling for reservations. To make the process as easy as possible, I’ve put together a Valentine’s Day meal plan that just about anyone can prepare. Most of the prep can be done earlier in the day or even the day before, so you can spend the night focusing on your Valentine and not slaving away in the kitchen.

The meal plan starts off with a rasmopolitan, a beautiful red cocktail. The drink uses black raspberry liquor called Chambord, which is pretty pricey – around $43. But I can guarantee it is worth every cent. And while I know it’s hard for college students to dish out this much money for a bottle of liquor, I always think of it as an investment into a gift that just keeps on giving. The bottle will last for a long time if used sparingly and it is extremely delicious.

After a nice cocktail, impress you loved one with a gourmet entrée of roasted asparagus, thyme bread, and goat-cheese ravioli with parsley sauce. The ravioli is super easy to make, using wonton wrappers instead of making your own noodles, and can be prepared up to a day in advance.

And finally, dessert. This decadent chocolate truffle tart requires no baking and like the ravioli, can be made days in advance.

So, here’s the timeline of events to follow when preparing this one of a kind Valentine’s Day meal:

Step one:  Make the Dessert

Adapted from “Truffle Tarts with Raspberries” recipe by Tyler Florence

Tip: Finish the dessert early in the day, and then you’ll be able to focus on dinner later.

Ingredients: Makes 6 tarts (Share with friends!)

–       ½ cup heavy cream

–       8 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate (Don’t be afraid to splurge. I bought an $8 bar of Scharffen Berger and it definitely made a difference)

–       1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

–       ½ cups fine chocolate wafer crumbs (either grind some chocolate wafer cookies in a Cuisinart/blender or put them in a resalable bay and smash with a rolling pin till fine)

–       6 tablespoons melted butter

–       Fresh raspberries

1) Bring cream just to a simmer over low heat in a saucepan. Pour the cream over the chocolate in a bowl and let stand 10 minutes to melt chocolate. Add the vanilla and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool for 1 hour at room temperature.

2) While chocolate is cooling, make the tart crusts. With a fork, mix the wafer crumbs with the melted butter. Spray the cups of a 6-muffin tin with vegetable spray. Line the cups with strips of parchment or waxed paper, cut so that they are as wide as the diameter of each cup and long enough to overhang the sides (you’ll need the overhang to remove the tarts later). Press the crumbs into the bottom and the sides of the muffin cup, building up the sides about 1-½ inches. Place a raspberry in the center of each cup.

Unfilled tart crusts

3) Once the chocolate filling has sat for an hour, beat it at medium speed until it is thick and light colored. Use a spoon or pastry bag to fill the cups with the truffle mixture. Smooth the tops and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours or until ready to serve. Top with more raspberries before serving.

Step 2: Prepare Ravioli

Adapted from “Goat-Cheese ‘Ravioli’ with Parsley Sauce” recipe by Martha Stewart

Tip: Like the dessert, make these early. They can sit covered in the fridge for a day or frozen for a month. Also, the original recipe calls for wonton wrappers which can be found in the refrigerated section by tofu or the freezer section but if you can only find eggroll wrappers that’s fine, just cut them down to size like I did.

Ingredients: Serves 2

–   3 oz fresh goat cheese

–   ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese

–   1 small garlic clove minced or crushed in a garlic press

–    pinch of ground nutmeg

–   Coarse salt and ground pepper

–   12 wonton wrappers (3 ½ inch) or egg roll wrappers cut down to size

1)   In a small bowl, mash together the goat cheese, ricotta, garlic, and nutmeg together until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Goat-cheese ravioli filling

2)   Arrange six wrappers on a work surface at a time. Spoon 1 level tablespoon of filling in the center of each wrapper (don’t overfill). Dip your fingertip in a small bowl of water and wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold a corner of each wrapper to form a triangle and press edges to seal. Flatten the area around the filling to eliminate air pockets. Repeat with remaining wrappers. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you plan on cooking them later.

Step 3: Cocktail Time

Before you get down and dirty preparing dinner, make your sweetie and yourself, a Rasmopolitan. Then they can sip on it while watching in awe as you pull together dinner.

Adapted from “Rasmopolitan” recipe by Martha Stewart


–   2 oz (2 tablespoons) citrus-flavored Vodka

–   2 oz (2 tablespoons) raspberry-flavored Vodka

–   1 oz (1 tablespoons) Chambord

–   2 tablespoon freshly squeezed limejuice

–   2 tablespoons simple syrup (bring equal parts water and sugar to a boil and then cool – or if you have agave nectar laying around like I did you can use that, just use a little bit less since it’s sweeter than simple syrup)

–   4 oz  (4 tablespoons) cranberry juice

– Raspberries for garnish

1)   Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add all of the ingredients except the raspberries. Shake or stir and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with raspberries and serve.

Step 4: Preparing Dinner

It’s dinner time which means time to cook the pasta and make the sauce, roast the asparagus, and brown the thyme bread.

All of the ingredients you need to create an amazing dinner for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day


–   About a half pound of asparagus

–   Olive oil

–   A loaf of French bread (I bought a demi-baguette, perfect for two people)

–   Softened butter

–   2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves

For the pasta parsley sauce:

–   2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

–   2 tablespoons olive oil

–   1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

–   1 teaspoon water

–   Salt and pepper

1)   Put a pot of salted water on medium high and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, prepare the asparagus. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Use about half a pound or however much you think will be a solid side dish for you and your sweetie. The trick my mom always taught me for trimming asparagus is to grab them towards the cut end and snap them. Wherever they snap is where they are the freshest. Repeat for each asparagus and then put in one layer on one half of a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.

2)   Slice the bread loaf in half lengthwise. Spread evenly with softened butter and put on the other half of the baking sheet with the asparagus. Put in the oven and set a timer for ten minutes.

3)   Meanwhile, make the parsley sauce: In a small bowl, stir together parsley, olive oil, Parmesan and water; season with salt and pepper.

4)   By now your water should be boiling. Turn it down to a gentle simmer and toss in the raviolis one at a time. Stir very gently so they don’t stick. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

5)   While the ravioli is cooking check on your asparagus and bread. If the asparagus is tender and slightly brown take them out, if not leave them in while you broil the bread. Turn the oven on broil but watch the bread like a hawk so nothing burns. As soon as it’s a nice golden brown, remove (along with asparagus) and sprinkle bread with the thyme leaves.

6)   When the ravioli is finished carefully remove with a slotted spoon and let excess water drain before putting them on two dinner plates. Drizzle the parsley sauce over the pasta. Divide the asparagus and bread between the two plates. Serve and enjoy. And don’t forget to pull out the dessert after dinner to put the final cherry on top of a perfect Valentine’s Day meal.

Happy Valentine’s Day!