Watergate Cake

I think this cake originated at the Watergate Hotel or something similar. Haha, nothing scandalous. Because it’s green, we love to make it every year for St. Patrick’s Day. But I love the creamy, thick frosting so much that I’ve even had it for a birthday cake once or twice. Plus, I just love nuts. FYI, sometimes the cake might sink in the middle or get a little dark around the edges, but it’s still always delicious.

If you’re making this one gluten free, I did actually make it gluten free for St. Patrick’s Day this year using a gluten free white cake mix. I added 3-4 Tbsp. corn starch since gluten free versions of things often have you add extra corn starch or gluten free flour–plus a few gluten free mixes say to add a few tablespoons of corn starch for high altitude. I don’t think it necessarily needed that much. Maybe next time I’ll just do 2 Tbsp. corn starch. The batter looked a little thicker than the regular, but it baked up to the same level. I had to use a Funfetti cake mix because the store didn’t have a gluten free, but it turned out just fine. I also toasted some pecans instead of raw walnuts, and it was great.

Watergate Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Nutty, with amazing green frosting and perfect for St. Patrick’s Day.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 ½ oz. box instant Pistachio Pudding
  • White Cake Mix (or gluten free cake mix + 2-3 Tbsp. corn starch)
  • 1 c. Vegetable Oil
  • ½ c. Walnuts or pecans, slightly chopped (optionally toasted)
  • 1 c. Ginger Ale
  • 3 Eggs

Frosting

  • 8 oz. container Cool Whip
  • 3 ½ oz. box instant Pistachio Pudding
  • 1 ¼ c. Milk

Directions

For cake, mix ingredients and pour into a well-greased 9×13 pan. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.

For frosting, mix and whisk all ingredients until smooth. Let it sit for a few minutes to thicken, then spread on cake.


 

Pumpkin Cake Roll

I love cream cheese so much! And I love this pumpkin cake roll. We made it for my brother’s wedding lunch (in addition to chocolate strawberries and eclairs), and I even got to make it for a How-To video when I was working at Harmons. Haha, it turned out a little flat in the video–I don’t think I beat the eggs for 5 minutes in the video, and they could’ve used more air.

The pumpkin roll also freezes well. We had a bunch left over from the wedding, and I ate it at least six months later with no hint of freezer burn.

I haven’t tried making this gluten free yet, but I’ll try using cup for cup flour and let you know how it goes.

Pumpkin Cake Roll

  • Servings: 12?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Cream cheesy, spiced, and amazing when served chilled.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 2/3 c. Pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ¾ c. Flour
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 tsp. Ginger
  • ½ tsp. Nutmeg

Filling

  • 1 c. Powdered Sugar
  • ¼ c. Butter
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla

Directions

For cake, Beat eggs for 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar. Add rest of ingredients. Grease a large cookie sheet (especially the middle) and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Sprinkle dish towel with powdered sugar. Gently loosen cake from pan with a spatula, then turn cake out onto dish towel. Roll up in towel to cool.

For filling, beat together ingredients. Unroll the cake and spread with filling. Then roll back up. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve chilled and sliced (it is messy to cut, FYI). (This also freezes well, just wrap in plastic wrap then foil.)


 

Raspberry Cake

My Aunt LaRee introduced us to this amazing cake, and the house smells so deliciously of warm cake and sweet raspberries when it’s baking. Combine it with cream cheese frosting and you’ve got a match made in heaven. Finding sweetened raspberries in the frozen section is getting harder, so I often buy unsweetened raspberries and just shake a few tablespoons of sugar over the top of them before incorporating with the rest. You may want to taste the berries after adding sugar and a little water to help it absorb–sometimes it takes quite a bit of sugar not to taste sour. Last time I think I added 1/4-1/2 c. sugar because it was still so sour.

I made this gluten free with a confetti cake mix. I wanted to add extra cornstarch because I’m in high altitude, so I had 3 Tbsp. cornstarch replace the flour, but I’m not sure it needed so much. The cake tasted great and raised a fair amount (of course not as high as regular cake), but tasted maybe slightly “floury”–so I think I’ll just try 1-2 Tbsp. of cornstarch next time.

Raspberry Cake

  • Servings: 12?
  • Difficulty: medium
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Delicious with whole raspberries in the middle and cream cheese frosting on top.

Ingredients

  • 1 White Cake Mix (or gluten free cake mix)
  • 2 Tbsp. Flour (or 1-2 Tbsp. cornstarch)
  • 1 small pkg. Raspberry Jell-O (4 Tbsp.)
  • ¾ c. Oil
  • 4 Eggs
  • ½ c. Water
  • 10 oz. pkg. Frozen Raspberries (sweetened)
  • White or cream cheese frosting

Directions

Mix together all ingredients (except the frosting) and spread in large greased cookie sheet (aka jelly roll pan). Bake at 350° for 30 minutes (or about 45 minutes in 9×13 pan). Frost with white frosting (generally cream cheese frosting).


 

Pumpkin Bars

We had these at a church activity once when I was a teenager, and I loved them so much that I kept bothering my leader for the recipe until I got it. Haha. Even if you’re not a pumpkin fan, these spiced cake bars are so delicious, especially with their cream cheese frosting. They make a lot of bars, and they’re always very popular.

I haven’t tried making these gluten free yet, but I’ll try out cup for cup flour and let you know how it goes.

Pumpkin Bars

  • Servings: 40 small bars
  • Difficulty: medium
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Spiced cake with delicious cream cheese frosting.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 c. Oil
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • 1 lb. can of Pumpkin
  • 2 c. Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Ginger
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cloves
  • ½ tsp. Nutmeg

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbsp. Milk
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 3/4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter, softened

Directions

For cake, beat eggs and mix together well with oil and sugar. Add pumpkin to mixture and mix. Add flour and spices. Slowly mix together well. Pour into greased 11×17 jelly roll pan (big cookie sheet). Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Cool.

For cream cheese frosting, mix all ingredients until smooth, then spread over cooled pumpkin squares.


 

Lion House Cheesecake

The Lion House is a historical building in downtown Salt Lake City. It was originally a house belonging to Brigham Young, and is now a restaurant. My mom had a book with several Lion House recipes, and this is one of our favorites to make. I think my favorite part is the cinnamon in the slightly crunchy crust.

I haven’t tried making this gluten free yet, but you’d need to change the crust, either using gluten free “graham” crackers or something like gluten free Oreos.

Lion House Cheesecake

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: medium
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Creamy filling with an amazing crust.

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 ½ c. Graham Cracker crumbs, rolled fine (or gluten free graham crackers)
  • 3 Tbsp. Sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. Butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Filling

  • 1 ½ lbs. (3 8 oz. Pkgs.) Softened Cream Cheese
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • ¾ tsp. Vanilla

Directions

For the crust, thoroughly mix ingredients and press into pie pan or spring form pan. 

For the filling, beat cream cheese well. Add sugar a little at a time; add eggs one at a time; add vanilla. Combine thoroughly until smooth. Pour into crust and bake for at least 1 hour at 300° until set. Serve chilled.

 

 


 

Graham Cake

This might be the oldest family recipe in our family, coming from my great-grandma Mellie Kinghorn Hutchings’ family. I haven’t made it for several years, but we’d occasionally make it when we were learning about pioneers or discussing family history. Haha, this recipe might not be as old as the pioneers in the 1800s, but it’s as close as we could get. And I remember my mom always pronounced it “gremm cake”, and she said that’s how her whole family pronounced it. Note that it makes a GIANT batch in a roaster pan, but it does freeze well. And as an older recipe, it’s not as overly sweet as the cakes we usually eat today.

I haven’t tried making this gluten free, but I think I probably would just find a different recipe. Unless I find a gluten free substitute for whole wheat flour (I imagine there’s one somewhere).

Graham Cake

  • Servings: Haha, a LOT
  • Difficulty: medium
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Old-fashioned and gigantic.

Ingredients

  • 2 c. Raisins
  • 4 c. Water
  • 4 c. Whole Wheat (Graham) Flour
  • 1 c. White Flour
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • 1 rounded Tbsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • About 1/3 c. Cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp. Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 1 c. finely grated Carrots (about 2 large carrots)
  • 1 c. Apple Sauce
  • 2 c. Walnuts, chopped
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 c. melted Shortening, cooled
  • 1/2 c, melted Butter, cooled

Butter Icing

  • ¾ c. Butter
  • ½ c. Milk
  • 2 lb. Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla
  •  

Directions

Simmer raisins in water with lid on for 30 minutes. Cool. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (from flour to cloves). Then add carrots, applesauce, and walnuts, and mix well. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Then add cooled raisins and liquid to mixture. Mix thoroughly. Mixture should be “sloppy”—not too dry. Add water if necessary. Pour mixture into greased roaster pan. Cover and bake at 350° for 45-60 minutes. Cool with lid on.

For butter icing, mix all ingredients until smooth and spread over cooled cake. Cake freezes well. 

 


 

German Chocolate Cake Frosting

You know, German Chocolate Cake from the store is okay, but once you’ve had homemade, it’s really hard to go back. So many of our family members’ birthday photos over the last few decades feature this cake. Because it is so amazing. It does take a fair amount of time and skill to frost the cake, but it’s so delicious!

Some tips: Stir constantly at the beginning so the egg doesn’t cook into small bits. If for some reason the egg does start looking like little scrambled egg bits, you can strain them out. And I have found if the frosting is still warm when you frost the cake, it’ll fall off the sides of the cake more easily. Of course that wouldn’t be an issue if you made the cake in an oblong cake pan, but we always make it as two round layers. And German chocolate cake seems especially soft and easy to rip, so frosting it is always tricky. But I’ve found that if I let the frosting cool in the fridge before I frost the cake, it’ll stay on the sides of the cake better once it is frosted. It does get harder to spread when it’s cold, but I’ve found that if I scoop out small spoonfuls of frosting and place them close to each other on the cake, I can use an offset spatula dipped in hot water to spread the spoonfuls into each other without ripping the cake.

Fun fact: German chocolate cake isn’t German. Haha, of course a cake with coconut wouldn’t be German. It’s just named after Samuel German, who invented the baking chocolate used in the cake.

If you’re making this one gluten free, of course the frosting itself is naturally gluten free–you’ll just need a gluten free German chocolate cake.

German Chocolate Cake Frosting

  • Servings: 1 double layer cake
  • Difficulty: medium-hard
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The best German Chocolate Cake frosting you’ll ever have.

Ingredients

  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 2 c. Evaporated Milk
  • 2 c. Sugar
  • ¾ c. Butter
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla (add after cooking)
  • 2 c. Walnuts (use walnut halves and chop slightly)
  • 2 c. Shredded Coconut

Directions

Before cooking, chop walnuts slightly on cutting board and chop shredded coconut in food processor so strands aren’t long and stringy. Set aside.

In heavy pan, beat egg yolks and milk before turning on heat. Mix in sugar and butter. Then place on medium heat. Cook and stir 12 minutes after it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Then stir in walnuts and coconut. Beat until thick enough to spread. Let cool in fridge for stiffer frosting.


Dump Cake

Dump cake is the go-to, easy dessert when camping (haha, besides s’mores, naturally). Of course it’s called a dump cake because you basically just dump everything into the pot and let it bake. I’ve made this in a regular pot in the oven, as well as a Dutch oven over coals. Whatever you prefer, it’s going to be delicious.

I haven’t tried making this gluten free yet, but you’ll of course just want to use a gluten free cake mix. Not sure how the soda and other ingredients will interact with the cake mix, but I’ll let you know when I try it.

Dump Cake

  • Servings: 8?
  • Difficulty: easy
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An easy and delicious dessert, perfect for camping.

Ingredients

  • 1 Cake Mix (or gluten free cake mix)
  • 1 can Pie Filling
  • 1 can Sprite
  • ½ c. Butter, melted

Directions

Make using a conventional oven or Dutch oven. For Dutch oven, use 12”. Place foil in Dutch oven or pot if baking in conventional oven, and spray foil with cooking spray. Place pie filling in bottom, then sprinkle cake mix on top. Pour Sprite over all. For Dutch oven, cover and place 15 coals on top and 9 on bottom. Turn lid ¼ turn every 12 minutes, for 45 minutes total cooking. For conventional oven, don’t cover. Bake at 350° for 45+ minutes until golden. During the last 5 minutes, pour melted butter over top. Serve hot with whipped cream or ice cream.

 


 

Black Forest Cake

I haven’t made this one in a while, but my older brother is a big fan of cherry pie filling. You can use mixes and canned items to assemble this cake, and it will still be delicious.

If you’re making this gluten free, make sure to use a good gluten free chocolate cake mix.

Black Forest Cake

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: medium
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Use mixes and canned items to make it easier.

Ingredients

  • 1 Devil’s Food Cake, prepared in round pans (or gluten free cake)
  • 1 pkg. Cool Whip or prepared whipped cream
  • 1 can Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 large can Cherry Pie Filling

Directions

After baking and cooling the cake, start assembling on a platter. On first layer of cake, pipe a ring of chocolate icing around the edge to prevent pie filling from leaking out. Then spread pie filling in the middle. Place next layer of cake on top. Frost sides and part of top with frosting. Pipe whipped cream around the edge, then fill the center with pie filling.