Cadbury Egg Magic Squares

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy recipe that tastes good and looks festive. I get it. If you’re hosting an Easter get together and you go the whole nine yards on the appetizers and entree, you might just need something simple for the final course. The carrot cake recipe I just shared is a tad involved (as most cakes are). However these magic squares, decorated with mini cadbury eggs, are not!

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I sometimes forget that magic squares are so good because they’re so easy. As if their unimpressive assembly means unimpressive taste. Not the case, people! These end up being pretty adorable and absolutely delicious. And they take about 45 minutes, total. Yaaas!

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Cadbury Egg Magic Squares

ingredients:

1/2th cup butter

crumbs from 12-13 graham crackers

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk

6 oz of semisweet chocolate morsels

1 cup chopped pecans

1 1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes

mini cadbury eggs

directions:

preheat oven to 350 F.

place the full stick of butter in a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven for a few minutes, allowing the butter to melt fully. once the butter has melted, pull the sheet from the oven and evenly distribute the graham cracker crumbs so as to make a dense crust.

evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk all over the graham crackers, so that the entire surface is coated. sprinkle on the chocolate chips, then the pecans. finally distribute the coconut flakes evenly across the sheet. press down on the surface of the coconut, so that all layers are densely packed.

bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the coconut starts to lightly brown. remove the sheet from the oven. while the coconut is still hot and gooey, add the mini cadbury eggs. doing so while the coconut is still warm will help them adhere to the squares better.

place the sheet in the oven and allow the bars to chill completely. cut into uniform squares, and serve.

enjoy!

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I hope you’re all having the very best Easter! Wishing so badly I was a kid searching for eggs and my basket again. 😉

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Worlds Best Carrot Cake

In my humble opinion no Easter celebration is complete without a carrot cake. It being my very favorite cake, I’ve tried more than a few variations. Even still, my favorite recipe is my moms (you can call it bias, but I swear its superiority is the objective truth).

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I’ve alluded to this cake many times on this blog, so this year I finally decided it was time to share the wealth. It’s a definite crowd pleaser, and the true magic of this cake is it freezes beautifully. I take the leftovers, freeze them by the slice, and pull them out for months (or, let’s be honest, weeks) afterwards whenever I’m craving something indulgent.

A little bit more about the cake: carrot cake recipes often call for raisins, the original version of this one included. I omit them from mine. I love the nutty and carrot-y flavors in the cake and I just think raisins distract from that.

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One of the best parts of making a carrot cake is decorating the top. So much room for creativity! This year I went for a simple but elevated look, with some piped carrot tops and candy eggs. A little Peter Rabbit-esque. Fun!

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ingredients:

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

4 cups grated carrots

1 cup pecans

8 oz softened butter

8 oz softened cream cheese

1 lb of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 cup sweetened coconut shavings

optional: cadbury eggs, orange food coloring, and carrot greens for garnish

directions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

grease two 9-inch cake pans and line their bottoms with parchment paper.

in a large mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil and sugar. in a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

alternate between adding some of the dry ingredients and the eggs, one by one, to the sugar/oil bowl. mix after each addition. finally add the carrots and pecans, mix to evenly combine, and divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.

bake in the oven for 70 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. let the cakes cool completely before removing them from their pans. trust me here.

in a new mixing bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract, and beat till everything is well combined.

reserve 2-3 tablespoons of icing for piping the carrots (more if you want to do additional decorations). spread a thick layer of frosting between cake layers, then ice a crumb coat on the whole cake. place the cake back in the fridge for about 20 minutes so that the crumb coat can set.

use the rest of the icing to completely frost the cake. mix a few drops of orange food coloring with the 2-3 tablespoons of reserved frosting. use a piping bag with a large, round tip to pipe the carrot tops. gently insert carrot greens into each of the carrot tops. add the candy eggs in whatever arrangement you like.

take the oven temperature down to 300 F and spread some coconut on a baking sheet. toast the coconut until lightly browned, tossing every so often so the coconut toasts evenly. apply a layer of the toasted coconut to the sides of the cake.

cut & enjoy!

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MILK-Style Pistachio Cake

Damn, y’all. You ever have a whole month whir by so fast that you just kind of lose your mind in it all and forget to do 90% of your to-do list? #MARCH, amiright?!

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Anyway, time for a little catch up. Here are some highlights from the month of March:

  1. My mama came to visit! She did my taxes, counseled me on life, and bought me a ton of Easter decorations from Homegoods. As a mother does. 😉
  2. I attended a murder mystery party with my colleagues as a corporate bonding attempt. And now I am heavily considering signing up for improv classes because it was so. much. fun.
  3. North Carolina started warming up and the days got longer. Thank the lawd, cause your girl was missing the sun. And running outside after work. And sitting on her balcony in the mornings!
  4. St. Patrick’s Day came and went. Raleigh actually celebrates, which is fun! I called my grandma for a quick chat, made corned beef and cabbage, and then made this pistachio buttercream cake (the true star of todays post). It’s green, see?!

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Did anyone else watch Christina Tosi’s episode of A Chef’s Table on Netflix? It was my favorite episode by far. Since watching it I’ve had a revitalized outlook on cake decorating, in that I don’t want the stress & pressure of perfectly icing a cake to take away from the fun of actually making a delicious cake! So I made this one MILK-style. I loooved how it turned out.

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MILK-Style Pistachio Buttercream Cake

ingredients:

for the pistachio buttercream frosting

1/2 cup butter, close to room temp

1 3.4 oz package of pistachio pudding

3 cups powdered sugar

6 tbsp milk

for the cake layers

2 + 1/4 cup flour

2 + 1/4 tsp baking powder

3/4th tsp salt

3/4 cup butter

1 + 1/2 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 + 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

optional: green sprinkles

directions:

for the buttercream frosting

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter. Add the package of pistachio pudding and 1 cup of sugar to the creamed butter, mix on high to combine. Alternate between adding the remaining sugar, mixing, then 1 tbsp milk & mixing, until all ingredients are well incorporated. Set this aside.

for the cake layers

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a sheet cake pan with butter and parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, & salt.

In the stand mixer (again fitted with the paddle attachment) cream the butter and sugar together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs & vanilla, mix to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk, mixing everything so it’s well combined in between each addition.

Pour batter into sheet cake pan, making sure that the batter is evenly distributed so that the cake comes out flat. Bake in oven for 35 minutes.

Once finished, remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely.

to assemble

Find whatever cake pan you’ve decided to assemble the cake in (preferably a tall one) and use it to trace a perfect circle on a piece of parchment paper. Cut the circle out. Place that circle on the cooled sheet cake, and begin to cut perfect circular cake layers out of the sheet layer with a knife (aim for at least 3)!

Use parchment paper to line the cake pan you will be assembling the cake in, so that the paper reaches at least 1 inch above the top of the cake pan.

Put the first cake layer down in the bottom of the pan. Cover this layer with buttercream, making sure to spread it out to the very edges of the cake. Add green sprinkles on top of the buttercream frosting. Top with another cake layer. Repeat this with the remaining layers & buttercream, making sure to finish with a layer of buttercream on top of everything.

Pop the cake, pan and all, into the freezer for 15 minutes.

Remove the cake from the freezer and, using the parchment paper that should be peeking out of the edges of the cake pan, pull the whole cake out. Peel away the parchment paper to reveal a perfectly imperfect and totally delicious masterpiece!

Cut & enjoy.

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