Dessert: Cherry Pie Bars

Happy 4th to everyone!

I know it’s not Friday, but I just needed to share this recipe in time for the holiday tomorrow.

We hosted a dinner over the weekend and I wanted to create the desserts myself. Apple pie and brownies were already on the menu, but I wanted to add something I hadn’t made before.

#Summer always makes me think of cherries. I used Pinterest to locate a simple recipe using cherries in something other than a pie. If you want to peruse my Pinterest boards, you can check them out here. We all know that pie is ALWAYS a great idea, but since I was already making apple, cherry pie bars were the winner.

I pinned two recipes for these awhile back from lilluna and MomSpark and forgot about them. I decided to combine the two. They were really easy to make and a big hit at our dinner.

Cherry Pie Bars


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 2 – 3 (21 oz) cans cherry pie filling


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 TBSP milk
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease your large jelly roll pan or cookie sheets with tall sides. Personally, I prefer to use parchment paper in lieu of greasing the pan.
  3. Cream sugar, butter, and vanilla in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well. Add flour and baking powder, stir just until blended.

    These cherry pie bars are great with coffee too!
  4. Spread 2/3 of the batter into the cookie sheet.
  5. Spread the pie filling over the batter.
  6. Drop remaining batter by teaspoonfuls over the pie filling.
  7. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out  clean.
  8. Cool completely.
  9. Mix together the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl.
  10. Drizzle glaze over fully cooled bars and allow glaze to set.
  11. Cut into bars and serve!

Enjoy the holiday!



Dessert: Raw Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Friday!

Earlier this week, I was looking through a recipe book my mom created for my sister and I when we set out on our own. The book is full of all the dishes she used to make for us when we were growing up. I love it and it has been my go-to for years. Even after our dog, a Boston Terrier named Yogi, chewed it up and the book finally had to be re-printed. Seriously, that dog drove me bananas! (Sigh)

One of the recipes in particular holds special memories for me. When I was little, my mom would make Raw Apple Cake for my birthday. Interestingly enough, I’m not actually sure why it’s referred to as “raw apple”. The apples are obviously cooked when the cake is baked? Anyway…

I have only made this cake a handful of times as an adult. Sadly, my family doesn’t particularly care for walnuts and I really don’t think it’s wise to have a 9″x13″ cake, just hanging around, for me to snack on, all by myself!

I love using #Gravenstein apples for this cake when they’re in season (late summer here in Northern California).

Raw Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 4 cups Granny Smith or Gravenstein apples (unpeeled and diced or VERY thinly sliced)rawapplecake
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (I reduce the walnuts to 3/4 cup)


  • 1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup of butter (softened but NOT melted)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups of powdered sugar (sifted)
  • 1/8 tsp (or less – it’s really just a dash) kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add apples and stir until well blended.
  3. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to apple mixture 1/3 at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in walnuts.
  4. Pour into ungreased 9 x 13 pan and bake 55-60 minutes.
  5. While cake is baking, mix up frosting. Cover and set aside in refrigerator.

Notes: Be sure to allow the cake to cool completely before frosting. You can also use two 8″ cake pans, or make 18 cupcakes. Adjust baking time accordingly. I like to use the directions on the back of a boxed cake mix to help adjust baking times. Two batches of frosting may be needed depending on how thick you prefer the layer(s) to be.

Frosted cake should be stored in refrigerator.





Dessert: Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy Friday! Today I am continuing my new series of Friday posts with a delectable cake recipe just in time to celebrate Easter, or the fact that it’s the weekend! Whatever you prefer! Do you really need a holiday to have cake? I certainly don’t!

Lemon Layer Cake2
Lemon Layer Cake: This photo was taken by Erin @  Erin’s photo is much prettier than mine.

Lemon desserts are one of my favorites. They’re fresh and make me think of springtime, so I decided this is the perfect week to share my favorite lemon layer cake recipe with you. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, and the recipe can easily be doubled and used for cupcakes too. Note: As suggested by Erin @ Well Plated, my personal preference is to use lemon cream cheese frosting, with lemon curd, in lieu of frosting, between the cake layers. Either way, it’s delicious!

Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting


  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour (I prefer Softasilk it’s available at most grocery stores and can be ordered from Amazon too!)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I prefer Philadelphia)
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided (I use Meyer Lemons if I can get them.)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Place cooking rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter and flour two 8 inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, then butter the parchment. (Parchment is optional, but be sure to butter and flour pans generously if not using parchment.)
  3. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt in medium size bowl. In a second bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg whites. If making lemon curd (recipe below) hold out egg yolks for later use.
  4. Using a stand mixer, place granulated sugar and lemon zest in the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Add the butter and beat on medium speed until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in lemon extract.
  5. Add one-third of the flour mixture and half of the egg/buttermilk mixture. Mix until combined. Now add the next third of the dry ingredients and the remaining eggs/buttermilk. Mix until batter is smooth, and add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix on medium speed until batter is well combined (about 2-3 minutes).
  6. Divide batter evenly between your two pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes spring back lightly when touched, and a toothpick or small knife (inserted into the center) comes out clean. Place cake pans on a wire rack and cool 5-10 minutes. Use a butter knife around sides to loosen cake. Place second wire rack on top of cake pan and gently turn over. Remove the parchment liner, if used, and allow cake to cool completely.
  7. Prepare cream cheese frosting: With your stand or hand mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth (approximately 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt. As the sugar begins to incorporate, increase speed to high and mix for 3-4 minutes. If needed, you can add the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice to thin the frosting.
  8. Frosting your cake: Trim tops of the cake layers to create a flat surface. Place first layer on a cake stand. Spread top with lemon cream cheese frosting (Note: lemon curd can also be used between the layers. Find my favorite recipe for lemon curd, by Karen @ The Food Charlatan, here.) Place the second layer on top, with trimmed-side down. Spread with more frosting and continue frosting sides of cake.

You can serve immediately. For the easiest slicing, refrigerate the frosted cake for 30-40 minutes first. Allow cake to come almost to room temperature before serving.

If you’re interested, you can find the original cake recipe in Dorie Greenspan’s Cookbook – Baking: From My Home To Yours , or the version with the fabulous lemon cream cheese frosting above, by Erin at Well Plated, here.




Dessert: Loaded Reese’s Brownies

Happy Friday! I’m so excited to begin a series of special Friday posts this week! These posts will feature favorite dessert recipes, as well as items I love.

Today I’m sharing a recipe for Loaded Reese’s Brownies. They have become my go-to when I need a dessert to share, or really just whenever. I found them on Pinterest a few years ago and I located the original recipe here on the Buns In My Oven blog. These decadent brownies are AMAZING! They’re ridiculously easy to make and even easier to devour!

Loaded Reese’s Brownies

YUM! Look at these! Do they not look absolutely incredible? I dare you to try and muster up enough willpower to eat just one!

Start with your favorite brownie mix. I like the Ghirardelli Double Chocolate brownie mix. You can find it at most markets. Our local Costco usually carries it in a bulk pack. Prepare the brownies according to the package directions. For this recipe, I make them in a 9×13 pan, so that requires two bags of the Ghirardelli mix. Let the brownies cool completely.

Once the brownies have cooled, mix up the peanut butter filling. A word of caution: This stuff tastes exactly like Reese’s peanut butter cups and a few bites of it, all by its self, are usually inevitable!

Peanut Butter Filling:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (I like Skippy. Mostly because we go through a lot of peanut butter at our house, and you can buy it at Costco too!)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Using a stand mixer and whisk attachment, beat together butter and peanut butter until combined. Next beat in powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream until well smooth, thick, and fluffy. Spread over fully cooled brownies.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 6 Tbsp milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips (I use Guittard. You can find these at most markets too. The chocolate contains no wax and sets up nicely!)

In a small saucepan, on medium heat, stirring constantly, bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil. Continue stirring and boil for exactly 60 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Immediately pour over peanut butter filling and spread gently with an offset spatula.

Let chocolate frosting set for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped Reese’s mini peanut butter cups. Allow an additional 30 minutes to set before cutting. I prefer to store them in the refrigerator and cut as needed. If you do, I recommend allowing them to sit for a few minutes before serving.