I can name that yumminess in 2 ingredients, Alex.

So, I know it’s been about 14 years since I last posted.  Sorry about that.  But I had to come out of hiding for this.  They are just that worth it.

I am a from-scratch kind of girl.  Not to the extent of my completely natural friend Melissa at The Baked Equation, but I like to know what’s in my stuff.

But from time to time, you just have to grab a box.

Don’t judge.  You know you’ve done it.  (Well, maybe not Melissa, but the rest of you.  Fess up).

But I was craving pumpkin and lacking time, so this fit the bill perfectly.

Here is all you need:

Yes, I know there are 4 ingredients in this picture.  You CAN make these with just 2 ingredients, but I’ve never been one to follow the rules.  And as if chocolate chips are ever truly optional, anyways.



  • 1 box Cake Mix (any kind. And only the dry mix.  Not any ingredients listed on the box)
  • 1 Can of Pumpkin (15.9oz)
  • 1-3 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)
  • Chocolate Chips (optional)


Combine dry cake mix, cinnamon and pumpkin thoroughly.  Batter will be very thick and sticky.

Add the chocolate chips.

Because the batter is so thick and sticky, I found the easiest way to get them in the pan was with an ice cream scoop.

“Look, Mom. No hands!”

And once they are all scooped out into the pan, they completely hold the shape from the scoop.

Look at those cute little spikes!

And they will come out exactly as they went in, so if you have some crazy shapes or spikes, you need to fix it or make peace with it.  Cuz it’s stayin’.


Let them sit in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then remove them carefully to cool on a wire rack.


And at this point, you can totally sell that the recipe only made 11 muffins.  Really.  It happens.  (Just make sure to wipe the moist crumbs off of your fingers first.)  The spice mix made 15 muffins.  The chocolate made 13.  (But that’s just between you and me.  There was less after quality control.  Safety first).

Aren’t they pretty.  Have you seen enough of them yet?  No?  Ok, here is another.


This particular batch was made with chocolate cake mix.  With chocolate, I used 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice to help cut through the chocolate flavor.  Last week, I used a Spice Cake Mix and only needed 1 tsp.

Wanna see those?


I found this recipe as a cake, but many suggested that it has the consistency of a muffin.  If you decide to make it as a cake, smaller or thinner works best. Everyone I saw that tried to make a bundt with this recipe was not happy with the outcome.

Regardless of what flavor you go with or what add-ins you choose, these are super easy and crazy moist.

So give ’em a try.  You’ll be making another flavor next week.  Promise.

Hope the rest of your week is sweet!







Release the Piecaken!

Some of you may have seen this picture I posted on Facebook last week:

Who knew it would cause such a fuss!  You guys flipped over it!

A friend sent me this picture (I did not make this or take the photo), and I thought it was too crazy not to be shared.  Amazing the strong reactions on both sides that this over-the-top dessert stirred up!  This, my friends, is PIECAKEN.  The sugary version of turducken.  Pie baked into a cake.  Amazing to some.  Horrifying to others.  But regardless of your position of it, piecaken did create quite the stir.

I received 7 emails from people wanting me to make this for them.  One request in particular really got my attention.  It was from a soldier in Afghanistan asking if I could make one and send it to him and his troop because the food they eat there is far from  yummy.  After much research, I learned that this would not make the trip.  But how do I ignore such a request from the soldiers who were dedicating their lives to protecting my freedom to make such a dessert?  And on Memorial Day, nonetheless.  So what’s a baker to do?

Make them in cookie form, of course!  Along with more pie and cake!

Can you see it?

And because my friend Melissa at The Baked Equation is so awesome, she jumped in and baked with me.  She made the most AWESOME Mexican Chocolate Cookies (with cayenne pepper in them!), as well as chocolate chip, butterscotch and margarita lime!  (I know, right?!)

Here they are, all packed up and ready for their trip around the world.  (And we ended up with so many it took 2 boxes to get them there!  Thanks again, Melissa!)

So while I was bummed that I couldn’t ship them an actual piecaken, I hope Jerry and the 66 soldiers in his troop enjoy a more shippable version.

Oh, and I will so be making my own version of the real thing.  But my girls have decided I need to use a chocolate pie, and maybe an oreo cookie pie instead.  No fruit in our sugar coma fest!

Want to make one, too?  Here is the recipe (posted by For The Love Of Food).  I didn’t create it.  I’m not exactly certain who did.  If you know for certain, post a comment so I can give proper credit, because this genius deserves the recognition due!

This is the “quick” version.  You can make any or all of this from scratch.


  • Two 9″ round cake pans that are 3 inches deep
  • 2 cake box mixes and the ingredients the box calls for (your choice of flavors)
  • 2 pre-cooked 6-inch pies (your choice of flavors)
  • Buttercream icing (double batch or 2 tubs of store bought)

Take one box cake and make the batter according to instructions.  Pour half the batter in a 9” round cake pan. On top of that, put the first pie. Pour the rest of the cake batter on top of that and bake it according to the box instructions.

Take the next box cake mix and make the batter according to instructions on the back of the box. Pour half the batter in a 9” cake pan. On top of that, put your second pie. Pour the rest of the cake batter on top of that and bake it according to the box instructions.

Once both cakes are done, wait until they cool and then assemble and decorate cake as normal.


So there you have it.

Whether you find piecaken incredible or disturbing, I hope your week is sweet!

Potato soup for people who don’t like potato soup

Let me start by saying that I do not like potato soup.

This is coming from the lover of all things potato.  Mashed potatoes.  Baked potatoes.  Potatoes Au Gratin.  French Fries.  Hash browns.  Potato Chips.  Fried potatoes.  Skillet potatoes.  (I think you get the point).  There is no form of potato that I don’t like.  Except for potato soup.

For some reason, there is just something off about potatoes in liquid form.  In soup form, I will pass on the potato.

So, you can imagine my level of excitement when I went to a jewelry party where dinner was provided, and the main dish was, you guessed it, potato soup.  But, my aunt (aka Betty Crocker) was the one who prepared it, so I decided out of courtesy, I’d give it a try.  I could choke down a few bites then move on to the lemon cake and raspberry cheesecake bites, and all would be well with the world.

I scooped a very small cup and proceeded to take my first Squidward bite, looking around to make sure no one was paying any attention at the minescule amount of soup that was on my spoon.  I smiled at the woman across the room, gripped my cup of apple cinnamon cider for a quick chaser, and took the bite.

Then, something odd happened.  I didn’t gag.  And more surprisingly, I almost enjoyed it.  Surely not.  I took another bite just to verify that my gag reflex was still in tact.  I swallowed even more slowly, just to make sure.  But low and behold, this soup was good.  How could that be?  It’s potato soup.  “Good” and “potato soup” have never mixed in the same sentence from me before.  But on this cold night, they did.  I then proceeded to eat 2 more cups and asked for the recipe on the way out the door.

Since that night, I have made this soup 3 times in six weeks.  And two of those times were in a 4 day period.

So, I feel the need to share this recipe with the world.  If it can make me eat potato soup and actually enjoy it, maybe it can rescue someone else from the liquidly blandness previously known as potato soup.  I hope this will set you free, as it did me.

Oh, and the recipe calls for 2lbs cubed potatoes.  Feel free to cube your own, but I have 3 kids, a self-employed-work-from-home husband, 4 cats and a somewhat house-trained dog, so Ore-Ida was kind enough to cube mine for me.  And freeze them.  Aren’t they nice?


1 stick of butter (I used salted)

1/4 cup AP flour

1 quart Half & Half

4 chicken bouillon cubes (confession: I had to go look in order to spell it correctly)

1/2 cup minced onions (confession: I used the dried kind)

2lbs cubed potatoes

Salt and pepper (to taste)

1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped ham (I bought a ham slice)

Milk or water (for thinning)


In a dutch over (or equivalent), melt butter.  Once melted, add the flour.  Stir until mixed thoroughly, then cook lightly for several minutes to thicken.  Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.

Add half & half.  (You could use milk if you like a thinner soup, but I like the richness this adds).  Mix, then add bouillon cubes.  Cook on medium until cubes have dissolved.  Stir as necessary.  Add the onions.  Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Mix well.

Add the potatoes.  (You can also use the kind that have peppers and onions already in the package if you’d like, or you can add fresh.  My kids don’t like any green pieces unless they have chocolate in the middle, so I stuck with just the regular kind).  Stir.  Add ham.  Mix well.  Cover and cook on low for a few hours.

You’ll need to check it periodically and add more liquid.  You can use milk or water  Just add a bit at a time to bring it back to the desired consistency.  Taste occasionally to check seasoning.  Add salt and pepper as needed.

Once the potatoes are soft and start to separate, it’s done!

Serve in a sour dough bread bowl for an extra touch of magic.

NOTE: My aunt recommended not making this in a crock pot.  She said for some reason, it separates sometimes on her when she did.  She said stove top does not do that.  So, use a slow cooker at your own risk.

ANOTHER NOTE: I am not a photographer.  I don’t even pretend to be one.  I got a T1i for Christmas, but have yet to learn how to use it.  I tried to take a picture for this, but I could not make the soup look appetizing.  I tried a green bowl, a white bowl, a cup, a mug – it all just looked like white mush.  So, no picture.  You’ll just have to imagine how beautiful and tasty it’s going to look.


I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have.  So go… live long, prosper, and eat potato soup.