White Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Jam


I have officially made a successful drip cake! (And it actually wasn’t that hard… Shhhh…)

I made a simple vanilla cake with a bunch of melted white chocolate folded into the batter just before baking (recipe here). I made the full recipe and it fit perfectly into three six inch round cake pans. The only changes I made was to use cream instead of milk because that’s what I had, and to use 1 and 1/2 cup cake flour and then the rest AP flour. Plus, I made sure my ingredients were at room temperature before starting.


The cake has a nice vanilla flavor with an underlying flavor of white chocolate– not too subtle but also not overly sweet. I was a big fan of the flavor. The crumb was a little denser than I usually like in my cakes, but it did make it very easy to level and I think it would be good for carving. Maybe next time I’ll up the amount of cake flour and see if that makes it a little lighter. It still stayed pretty moist though, so I can’t complain about that at all!


I made a white chocolate whipped cream by beating 2 and 1/4 cups of whipping cream until soft peaks, and then stirring in 6 oz of white chocolate that had been melted with 3/4 cup whipping cream and cooled slightly. I also added a splash of vanilla extract and 3 T of powdered sugar. It was just barely sweet and definitely had a white chocolate aftertaste. It was enough to frost my three tier cake and have plenty left over for piping some details. If you like really thick layers of frosting I think there would be enough– as it was I had a cup and a half or so left over, so maybe next time I’ll cut it by one third. (Note that it was exceptionally warm in my kitchen that day, and it was pretty tricky frosting to work with. I had to put my cake in and out of the fridge about every five or ten minutes. But if you cool the frosting for at least thirty minutes in the fridge ahead of time it should be much easier!)

I filled the layers with a dam of the whipped cream frosting and then a healthy layer of strawberry jam (plus a drizzle of simple syrup over the cake layers that I think was pretty necessary).


I made a quick chocolate ganache glaze by melting 2 oz of dark chocolate, 1/4 cup cream, and 2T corn syrup and then letting it cool in the fridge for ten minutes. I used a spoon to drop dollops of the glaze just on the top edges of the cake and then slowly pushed over drops of various sizes to create drips. Then I filled in the center with most of the rest of the glaze. This was a lot easier than I thought it would be!


Finally, I used various flower tips to pipe different sized flowers on top, and melted some white chocolate to pipe butterflies and other shapes on some wax paper and then stuck them in the freezer to harden. With the crazy heat that day the only one that made it out of the freezer and onto the cake quickly enough not to suffer damage was one little butterfly, but I think I’d have more success on a cooler day! I also added a few crystal sprinkles and some chocolate jimmies to finish off the top. I had originally planned to add some white chocolate-dipped strawberries, but I kind of forgot to leave space for them. (So… they all ended up in my stomach instead of on top of the cake!)

I would definitely do these decorations again, and I did enjoy the larger layers of cake, but I’m not perfectly happy with the texture of the cake yet.

I hope you are all staying cool in the heat this summer!

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The Biggest (and Best) Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies


I cannot stop eating these cookies.

No, seriously. Usually I am not a big chocolate cookie fan. I feel like chocolate cookies never taste enough like chocolate. But these have a nice rich flavor and then are absolutely loaded with peanut butter chips. Seriously, it might just be that the cookie dough is a vehicle for eating peanut butter chips… (Nothing wrong with that!)

I based these cookies off of a Levain bakery copycat recipe found at Parsley Sage Sweet. I read through a ton of comments on that recipe and a few other copycat recipes as well and make some changes, so I’ve posted my version of the recipe below.

These are definitely special occasion cookies– they are huge! We are talking 6oz, more than a third of a pound. But I think their size is really important in getting nice crispy edges and a cookie-dough-like center. Make them big and cut them in halves or quarters to serve if you need to. (I’ve been enjoying them cut in half, personally).


These would be the perfect cookies for any chocolate/peanut butter lover in your life, or to take to an event where you really want to impress people. They don’t take long to bring together, though you should make time to freeze them for an hour or so before baking to help keep them from spreading.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Makes: 8 huge cookies.

  • 2 sticks cold and cubed butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used 1/4 cup dutched and 1/4 cup black cocoa for a rich color and taste)
  • 1 and 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 t vanilla
  • 2 cups peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs and egg yolk until blended. Add vanilla and mix briefly. Then add cocoa powder.
  2. Add flours, baking powder, and salt until barely combined.
  3. Add peanut butter and chocolate chips and fold in by hand.
  4. Weigh out 6oz balls of dough (about the size of a small softball)– you should get about eight balls of dough. The balls should hold together loosely– don’t pack them tightly. Place in ziploc bags and freeze for at least one hour prior to baking.
  5. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes. (I prefer closer to the 18 mark so I still have a slightly underbaked center.) Let cool completely on the tray. (You can pop the tray in the fridge if you want, but please don’t try to remove them until they are cool. They have a much better texture if you let them cool before eating!)

I baked only a few at a time, and stored the rest in the freezer where they should last a couple of week if you can keep yourself from eating them. I stored the baked cookies in an airtight container and had no trouble with them staying fresh for three or four days.

This recipe is going in my secret stash of go-to impressive treats!

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Key Lime Pie Cake


I made this cake for a birthday party. Sadly, the party ended up getting cancelled, but I wanted to finish it anyway.

I think this cake may overtake my Dobos Torte for prettiest cake I’ve made so far…

It’s a white sour-cream based cake with a little key lime juice and zest, from bakerella. I added a little vanilla and used cake flour. It was a nice cake, with just a hint of lime, and very easy to throw together.

I filled the cake with lime curd from Craving Chronicles, though I should have just made a half recipe. The filling was great, and pretty easy to make since I used bottled key lime juice! I used the lime Swiss meringue buttercream from the same site. It had a fantastic flavor, and was easy to work with. I wasn’t happy with how it set up ultimately though, but that might just be my bias against most buttercreams in general. It seemed to get a little thicker than I wanted, but perhaps just using a thinner frosting layer and making sure that the cake is room temperature when serving would solve that problem…

I covered the edges of the frosted cake in some graham cracker crumbs to mimic a key lime pie crust, and then piped whipped cream on the top and added a bit of fresh fruit to finish the decoration.

I’m so sad to report that, although I loved all the elements of this cake individually, I wasn’t really a fan of the total package. Maybe I was just let down because it didn’t taste quite as amazing as it looked. I think if I make this again I wouldn’t torte the cakes– the filling to cake ratio was a little high for my liking and the cakes baked a little thinner than I had expected. I’d also probably just go with a tinted whipped cream frosting or Italian meringue to avoid the buttercream issues. It’s not that there was anything wrong with any part of the cake, it just wasn’t my favorite. But it sure was pretty!


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Carrot Cake with Rum Caramel Glaze


I really meant to make carrot cake much earlier in the spring, like February or March. As it turned out, I made it in the middle of may during the hottest weekend we’ve had so far! So hot that my cream cheese frosting was melting in the kitchen in only a few minutes. I kept having to take the cake in and out of the fridge so my piping would slide right off or melt into the cake!

BUT. This is a really great carrot cake. It is super moist because of the addition of apple sauce, and it would totally hold up to adding nuts, raisins, coconut, pineapple or any of that stuff if you like that. I kept it simple with just carrots and spices this time. I think this cake’s subtle spice would stand up well on its own. The delicate flavor was a little overpowered by the combination of caramel and cream cheese frosting, though it was still delicious. If I kept the frosting and everything next time I think I’d up the cinnamon.


The rum caramel was supposed to be a sauce for pouring over the cake, but without pulling out my candy thermometer it turned into more of a cross between a caramel sauce and a soft caramel. Not really thin enough for a sauce, not hard enough for a soft candy. I just spread a thin layer (keep it thin– it’s super sweet!) over the tops of my two six inch cakes where it thickened into a nice glaze.

I also made a nice whipped cream cheese frosting. Before this cake I would have told you I didn’t really like cream cheese frosting, but this was amazing. It was easy to work with, easy to pipe, and had just the right balance of tangy and sweet. I will definitely be using this frosting recipe again!


I also used this cake as an opportunity to practice my piping work a bit. (Though with the heat I definitely could have done better… Oh well, still practice!)

Cake recipe is here, but I cut it in half to make two six inch cakes since there was only two of us eating it. I also cut the caramel rum sauce in half, but would probably just make a quarter of it next time. (I ended up using the leftovers this time to make homemade “Take 5” bars with dark chocolate, rum caramel, peanut butter, pretzels, and rice krispies. Seriously addictive!). Cream cheese frosting recipe here— I cut it in half and just barely had enough to comfortably fill and decorate my small cake.


So now that it’s approaching summer officially this may not be the cake of the season, but hold on to this recipe because it’s certainly a keeper if you ever need a carrot cake!

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Grapefruit Poppyseed Cake


I made this cake in May but I don’t think it’s too soon to say this may be my favorite cake of the summer.

I served it at our house-warming party to rave reviews, and happily snacked on leftover pieces for the rest of the week.


It’s an olive oil poppyseed cake with a hint of grapefruit and almond, filled with a grapefruit and clove curd, a tart and zesty grapefruit buttercream, and then frosted with a chamomile vanilla Italian meringue. It’s perfection.


I used the grapefruit curd recipe from Joy the Baker. The cake came from The Cake Blog and I did make it in the original three six-inch pans, which was very dramatic. I added a quarter teaspoon of almond extract as well. I made a half recipe of the grapefruit buttercream here (and, let me tell you, it is so amazingly flavorful!), and used the Earl Grey meringue frosting from here. I used chamomile tea instead of Earl Grey and added a bit of vanilla too. I made a whole batch, but I think you could safely cut it in half.


Then I colored my meringue three colors and frosted the cake. I also added some clear sanding sugar on top for a bit of sparkle at the outdoor party. (Plus I was thinking about how many people put sugar on grapefruit when they eat them.)

I will absolutely make this cake again with zero changes– that may be the first time I’ve said that on this blog!


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Six-Layer Neapolitan Cake


I made this cake for an end-of-year picnic hosted by my program. I was told there would be a prize for the best dessert, but they totally lied. So that made me kind of mad, but, let’s be honest, I totally would have made this cake anyway! Plus even my partner loved this cake, and so did everybody else I heard talking about it. So that’s a big enough win for me!


This cake is definitely a project, with three different cake recipes and three different frostings. I somehow managed it all in one (very long) night. To be fair, it wouldn’t have taken quite as long if I hadn’t had to remake a chocolate layer because I forgot to grease the pan and a strawberry layer because I wasn’t happy with the initial texture.


Essentially you bake one layer of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry cakes, then cut them in half and layer them in any order you want, spreading strawberry jam in between each layer. . Then I made chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla buttercreams and frosted layers around the outside. The strawberry was a little runny, which was a problem I hadn’t had with that recipe before– maybe I added too much puree/not enough powdered sugar… Still, they were all delicious!


Ok, now the recipes:

Vanilla cake layer: Half recipe of this Snow White Vanilla Birthday Cake. (I found it to be just a little dry for my taste, though the jam filling helped!)

Strawberry cake layer:Half recipe of this  Strawberry Cake. (I thought it could still use a little more strawberry flavor if you were going to make it without spreading jam on it.)

Chocolate cake layer: Half recipe of this Rich Dark Chocolate Cake. (This cake is amazing! I used half dutch and half black cocoa powder.)

Vanilla buttercream: I originally made only a half batch and was seriously running out by the end. That (plus the runny strawberry buttercream) is why my frosting job is lacking. Overall I’d say double whichever frosting you want to also frost the top of the cake with. Recipe here.

Chocolate buttercream: A quarter batch of this dark chocolate buttercream.

Strawberry buttercream: Half recipe of real strawberry frosting.


I’d suggest making the strawberry puree early on (recipe in the strawberry frosting recipe), so it has time to cool before you use it in your strawberry cake and then frosting. I’d suggest making a whole batch of the puree even though you’re only making half of the frosting. That way you can add however much you need to both the cake and the frosting. You will also need a nice big jar of strawberry jam. I actually had to use a whole jar of Smucker’s naturals, plus a smaller jar of another brand I happened to have in the fridge. Do yourself a favor and just buy two jars (or a really big one) the first time around!

Despite some of the trouble I had with pieces of this cake, I would absolutely make it again. It’s a showstopping dessert and could easily win any fictional or real prizes!


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A Summary of End-of-Semester Baking

I know, I know. Long time no see. But I have still been baking!

I won’t be able to do a detailed post about all of the things I have baked in the last month or so, so let me just summarize a few of them here so that I will be able to find and use the recipes again in the future.

  1. Rootbeer Float Cupcakes: I used this recipe and made half a batch for six cupcakes. They were super moist (almost too much so) and tasted more like a spice cake than rootbeer, despite my addition of rootbeer extract to both the cake and the vanilla whipped cream frosting. I’d pass on making these again, unless I wanted an extremely moist spice cake for some reason.

IMAG20532. Grapefruit Curd Cake. AMAZING. I know it doesn’t look like much, but trust me. You have to make it. I’d never baked a cake with self rising flour before, and I even accidentally left out the two whole eggs in making the grapefruit curd. It was perfectly light, a complete dream right out of the oven, and an amazing breakfast cake for the rest of the week. Recipe here.

IMAG20613. London Fog Tea Cake: I followed this recipe and baked it in three 6-in pans. I left two of the cakes whole and torted the middle one. The cake itself was quite lovely, and I added looseleaf tea to it as well. I frosted it with basic whipped cream and filled one of the layers with some left over orange whipped cream and orange curd. The top got some orange curd as well. It was pretty tasty, but nothing super special. Sort of a clean-out-the-freezer cake right before I moved out of the apartment. (Plus I was running low on cream, so the frosting job is not so pretty– sorry!)

4. Strawberry Butter Cake. Recipe here. I baked it in an 8in square pan instead of a skillet. I thought it was delicious. The cake itself is dense and moist and chewy in all the best ways. But what really took it to the next level was serving it with cut strawberries and unsweetened vanilla whipped cream. I can’t wait to try the recipe with other fruit toppings too. Raspberries and lemon curd, perhaps?!

IMAG21325. Neapolitan Cake. THIS was a triumph and deserves its own post, so look for that by the end of the week. Six layers of cake sandwiched with strawberry jam and frosted with chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla buttercream. Even Megan loved it and she has no sweet tooth!

6. Cake Pop Brownies. I used my new black cocoa powder in combination with a double dutched cocoa powder to make King Arthur’s recipe for extra dark brownies, found here. I omitted the nuts but did add some semi-sweet chocolate chips for more texture. Then I topped it with an extra chocolate cake from my Neapolitain cake that I mixed with some leftover Oreo whipped cream. I did overbake the brownies slightly, but luckily the gooey cake layer helped to soften them up. Chocolate on Chocolate on Chocolate. This was overall pretty easy to put together and I think it would be fun to try different flavor combinations too. Great for a potluck!

IMAG21607. Pink Grapefruit Cake. Perhaps my favorite cake I’ve made in a long time. It’ll have its own post coming up soon as well. Stay tuned!

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Dobos Torte


It’s official. This dessert has overrun my Lemon London Fog Cake as my prettiest creation so far.


Shiny caramelized cake shards, whipped dark chocolate buttercream, seven even layers of light and airy sponge cake.


I couldn’t stop taking pictures!


Despite its stunning presentation, this cake isn’t much harder to make than any of my other creations. Each layer is baked separately, but as long as you have a nice rotation of pans, you can fit two or three in your oven at once. Each layer only needs 4-6 minutes to bake, so I baked my cake in 20 minutes. The thin layers also cool quickly.


Probably the thing that seemed to take the longest was getting the chocolate ganache to cool to the right temperature to whip it in with the butter to make the frosting. I used half 60% chocolate chips and half 99% chocolate for a nice deep dark chocolate frosting. It’s still sweet, but not overly so, and the chocolate flavor really shines through.


The original recipe calls for a chocolate frosting with raw egg whites in it. Not only was I out of eggs (the cake itself needs ten!), but I wasn’t thrilled about raw eggs in my frosting. So, I make the dark chocolate buttercream instead and would absolutely do it again.


I added a bit of lemon zest and almond to the cake itself, and it has a nice subtle fruity and floral taste that I think complements the chocolate nicely. I was worried about it being too heavy on the frosting, but the layers and the thin layers of frosting blend beautifully to make a nice soft cake with a definite (but not overpowering) chocolate flavor. I really can’t say how much I loved the effect of all the thin layers. Not only was it visually appealing, but it was really fun to eat! The stickiness of the sponge helped to hold each bite together. I imagine if you tried to fill it with too much frosting or jam it might be a little slippery, but I didn’t have any problems. (In fact next time I’m considering filling the layers with lemon curd and then making a lemon buttercream for the outside– YUM!)


The stunning top is another layer of sponge cake with a simple sugar-and-water caramel poured over top, then cut into twelve triangles. This provides a thin layer of crunch while the cake itself stays soft. I absolutely love both the look, the texture, and the taste, and am already plotting how to incorporate the technique into other cakes! (You could also use cookie cutters if you wanted specific shapes.)


I followed this recipe for the sponge and made eight 8in round layers. I made some in my 8in cake pans, and spread some on parchment paper circles. Both turned out well. Nothing was completely even but they were all close enough, and I only had to slightly trim one to make it look even when frosted. I did add the zest of one lemon to the batter when I folded in the egg whites, plus 1/2 tsp almond extract.


For the frosting I also went with Smitten Kitchen– Whipped Bittersweet Frosting. The only thing I added was a 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract to help bring out the chocolate flavor. I highly recommend this frosting– but make sure your chocolate ganache is truly cooled to at least room temperature before adding it to the butter. I didn’t have any trouble, but I could see how it might be tricky.


I piped small stars on top of the cake in twelve places and then rested the caramel shards on top, leaving a small open circle in the middle where they overlapped. I loved the way this looked, though it does mean you have to take one off to cut a slice. Laying it directly on top might make it easier to actually eat with the cake, but you can decide.


Although you’d think this would be an incredibly rich cake, the light sponge keeps it feeling not so heavy, and a medium piece was perfect for me with a cup of tea. I hope you make it next time you need to create something pretty, or even just because!



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Povitica (Or Walnut Sugar Swirl Bread)


As soon as I saw this recipe on the Great British Baking Show I knew I just had to make it. I bumped the cupcakes that had been on my calendar and moved this to the front of the queue.

How could I not be enchanted by the idea of a meter-long rope of dough swirled with sugar and spice and everything nice that reveals a work of art when sliced?

The actual dough process wasn’t too tricky, just a little time consuming. I wasn’t able to smoothly spread the filling across the dough, and the dough did tear a little while I was trying to stretch it, but none of that made any difference that I could tell in the final product.


I used what I assume is the same recipe from the show (plus a few helpful hints and tips), found here. The measurements are in weights, but you can pretty easily convert them with a few online searches if you don’t have a kitchen scale.

I did add a few things to the filling. I used 1 cup of brown sugar instead of white sugar, added 1 T each of rum and of cinnamon, and the zest of an orange. I was SO SO happy with the flavor and would absolutely keep that the same next time.


I did have some trouble with the bread not baking all the way through in the middle. If you have a thermometer I’d suggest trying to get it to 200 degrees before you take it out. I baked mine for the full hour and then embarrassingly had to try and bake it an extra 45 minutes after it had cooled and I realized it was pretty doughy in the middle. (It wasn’t raw by any means, but the extra time in the oven undeniably improved it.) It will still be gooey like the center of a cinnamon roll in the middle in all the best ways, but the outer layer will have a nice flaky crisp. Several people asked me if I’d used puff pastry!


The other warning I should give you is that it is entirely too easy to break off piece after piece of this bread and continuously shove it in your mouth! I made this as stress relief after a meeting during the week and it was a great pick me up with plenty extra to go around.

If you’re looking for a nice medium-length baking project with delicious and stunning results, I definitely recommend this! (Just make sure you bake it a little longer.)


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Top Ten Treats

I was looking back through all my recipes recently and thought that, with over 60 posted on the blog, it might be time to do a Top Ten list of some of my favorites. That way those of you who have started to follow me recently can get a better sense of what I’m most proud of. I tend to post almost every recipe I make, but there are select recipes that have a special place in my heart and in my kitchen. So, let’s make this a countdown…

IMAG1128 (1)

10. Rainbow Heart Cookies for Vermont Pride! These cookies were super fun to make, and tasted soft and sweet. They were a great change to practice decorating and to celebrate!


9. Homemade Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Better than the “real” deal. Not quite as crunchy, but the vanilla bean buttercream is to die for, and they twist just like the real thing. A sure crowd-pleaser!

pb cake 2

8. Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake. Perfect for all the chocolate peanut butter lovers! Four layers of moist peanut butter cake with peanut butter cookie dough filling, homemade chocolate cookie crumble, honey toasted rice cereal, and a dark chocolate ganache. This recipe will forever be on repeat in my house.


7. Olive Oil Citrus Cupcakes. You can’t tell from the picture, but these soft and fragrant cakes are filled with homemade lemon curd– a blast of flavor in every delicious bite! Combine that with the orange zest whipped cream frosting, and you’ll know I never should have made such a small batch.

Raspberry Rolls

6. Raspberry Almond Sweet Rolls. One of the first recipes I developed for the blog, but absolutely a keeper. Soft sweet dough around fresh almond cream and homemade raspberry jam with a perfectly sticky almond icing drizzled generously on top. They taste so much better than this old picture makes them look!

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5. Cookies and Cream Macarons and Lemon Macarons. My first time making macarons was a fun weekend project, and I was really happy with how these two flavors turned out. A chocolate macaron cookie with cookies and cream filling tasted like ice cream, and a lemon cookie with lemon vanilla butttercream and lemon curd was a perfectly sweet-tart combination.


4. Strawberries and Cream Double Decker Poke Cake. Because cake is more fun with more layers. Even without cake flour this cake baked up soft and stayed moist yet sturdy with the addition of a fresh strawberry puree and vanilla whipped cream. Decorated with both vanilla and strawberry whipped creams, this is like the best celebratory version of strawberry shortcake you never knew you could have.


3. The Ulti-Malt Malt Cake. Sweet malted cake, strawberry jam, homemade white chocoalte covered malted shortbread crumble, and a malted milk frosting with chocolate ganache drizzle. This cake takes top honors for a party cake. Looks simple and stunning but has an amazing combination of flavors that makes everybody know it’s something truly special. Plus, that white chocolate malted crunch is the best cake filling ever. No seriously. Probably my favorite eat-it-just-because cake!

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2. Lemon London Fog Cake. Lemon cake with lemon simple syrup drizzle, London fog shortbread crumble, vanilla bean buttercream around lemon curd in the middle, and an Earl Grey meringue frosting. Such a classy cake with the perfect combination of sweet meringue and tart lemon, plus a background of sophisticated tea flavor. Also, I’m in love with the spreadability (technical term) of the meringue!

IMAG1813IMAG18231. Milk and Cookies Overload Cake. This cake takes the number one spot because of its sheer size and the huge (and hugely fun!) project it was to bake it. Five cake-inspired layers (sugar cookie, cinnamon oatmeal, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and Oreo), each with an associated cake mix-in, cookie dough frosting and homemade cookie crumble fillings, plus a cookies and cream whipped cream frosting and mini homemade (except for the Oreos) cookies on top. Truly a decadent special occasion cake!

So, there you have it. I’d say close runners-up were my Salted Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies and my Homemade Croissants. The cookies because they are truly my favorite quick-to-bake treat (and the best peanut butter cookies you will ever have!), and the croissants because they were such a fun challenge.

Looking forward to seeing what I bake in the next year and whether new recipes will dethrone some of these favorites!

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