Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie | Last of the Lilacs

June 4, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

I made this pie for my brother-in-law’s birthday a couple weeks ago. I did not personally craft this recipe but I will definitely be keeping it close by. If you have a husband, boyfriend or boy friend I am confident promising this pie will win you all kinds of favors and brownie points.  Plus Father’s Day is just around the corner so this takes away the time and energy thinking about what do get Dad.

I just want to say, this pie is as easy as 1-2-3 and you’ll take home the blue ribbon. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie // serves 8


10 large/double graham crackers
6 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. unsweetened raw cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions here.


1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
4 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate
3 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 c. heavy whipping cream, cold
3 Tbs. powdered sugar

Directions here. Note I used the above baked chocolate crust.


Birthday Pie

Chocolate Espresso Everything Ice Cream Cake

April 15, 2016

Birthday Cake

Ice Cream Cake

HELLO! I can’t believe it’s been months since the last recipe I shared. So sorry.

Now that it’s spring, I am feeling inspired and motivated by longer days and fresh colors. My eyes have been fixated on green’s grand entrance into the pastures and markets. Hallelujah. I no longer have to rely on soups and stews to carry me through the winter.  So I am going to try and put my best foot forward again but I have to tell you I am still learning how to juggle and I am not very good at keeping all my balls in the air. And I hate to say it but this site always seems to find ground first.

Geez, now I’m feeling like I should have shared a recipe highlighting the fresh flavors of spring instead of this delicious ice cream cake. Well not really, ha! I love ice cream cake and we celebrated Luke’s birthday last weekend so this recipe seems fitting. I also kind of think if you don’t like ice cream cake, well that sucks for you! Plus the best part about making a homemade ice cream cake is the truth in the ol’ saying, “If a little is great and a lot is better then way too much is just right”! So go hog wild here. Throw everything in that bowl. Brownie bites, cocoa nibs, chocolate chunks, walnuts, marshmallows….you get it. This is ‘Your Everything’ ice cream!

So the funny thing about this ice cream cake is its what I call a ‘zero sum’ dessert. Do you know what I am talking about? When you balance a healthy decision with a not so healthy one.  So in this case, the cake is gluten free, calls for coconut oil, which we all know is the go-to oil these days in healthy living blogs and magazines and well if I had coconut sugar that would have been great too because its low on the glycemic index. But then I go and defy my healthy decisions with a quart of decadent dairy! See this cake is what I call a ‘zero sum’ dessert. But the bad news is just the other day I read an article that made the point that being “good” isn’t about zero sum. Well shit! However, the article has nothing to do with diet or healthy eating but actually about the buzz on how eating less meat would solve global warming. The article is a little dated (2014) but offers an interesting perspective from the other side. If you like you can read it here. But somehow when I read this article I immediately correlated the idea of ‘zero sum’ to my cooking and baking practices, which point proven here! However I’m not totally convinced that ‘zero sum’ is bad practice, but perhaps I will try harder to win all the way around next time!

Hope you are getting outdoors!

Luke's Birthday

Chocolate Espresso Everything Ice Cream Cake / Serves around 14-16 depending on the slice!


165 g. coconut oil
3/4 c. cocoa powder
1/4 c. maple syrup
4 eggs, separated
110 g. coconut sugar
3 c. almond meal


Recipe here. I was low on coconut oil so only 130 grams made it into the sauce pan. I used raw cocoa powder. I didn’t have coconut sugar in my pantry so substituted for granulated white sugar. And I was low on almond flour so added a little oat flour. Despite my poor grocery planning, the base was still incredibly chocolatey and fudgy, which is all that really matters. Am I right?!

I baked the cake in a greased and lined 9-inch spring form pan. Allow it to cool and then top with ice cream. If you don’t feel like making homemade ice cream just buy your favorite quart. Freeze the cake for a couple of hours so the ice cream can set but I recommend removing from the freezer for 15-20 minutes prior to serving.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (ice cream)

2 c. whole milk
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 whole vanilla bean
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 Tbs instant espresso
10 oz. semi sweet chocolate
Everything / chocolate chunks, walnuts, coconut, brownie bites (like I said, a little is good and more is better)


Use ingredients above and follow my Serviceberry Ice Cream recipe.

Note: Pour custard through fine mesh strainer over vanilla, chocolate and espresso. Wait a minute or two for chocolate to melt before stirring.

Honey Vanilla Buttercream

April 11, 2015


My sister passed along a cookbook a couple months ago. The book is called Baked Explorations < Classic American Desserts Reinvented >. Author’s Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito  take our country’s treasured treats and reinvent the recipes with their signature tongue-in-cheek style. Think Whoopie Pies, Monkey Bread, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, the Sweet and Salty Brownie and Mississippi Mud Pie AKA Coffee Ice Cream Tart, just to name a few.  This is the type of cookbook that inspires me to make  change to the ‘old reliable’; to try substituting, adding or removing ingredients without compromising the familiar and comfortable flavors known to a recipe. After all, change is good!

A couple weeks ago a friend asked me if I would make a cake for her daughter’s baptism. I often make cakes for family and friends so I was obviously happy to contribute and be a part of her special day. I decided to try the Aunt Sassy Cake from the aforementioned cookbook. The original recipe is a white based cake with pistachio nuts but I modified it slightly substituting almonds for the pistachio nuts and also a small amount of almond flour for all-purpose. I thought almonds might be more appealing to a variety of palettes even though I am a big pistachio fan. The cake is delicious but the real shining star is the Honey Vanilla Buttercream frosting. It’s light and creamy and not too sugary. I think this is a recipe to file amongst your white cakes!


White Cake

Honey Vanilla Buttercream / yields enough for one 8-inch, 3 layer cake

Recipe from Baked Explorations

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. whole milk
1/3 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbs. honey

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool (this takes at least 7 to 9 minutes of mixing; you can speed up the process by pressing bags of frozen berries or corn against the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl). Reduce the speed to low and add the butter; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and honey and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the bowl over a pot simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.

Note: For me the frosting was the right consistency, I did not have to cool or warm it like mentioned in last step.


Take a peek at my photo album from recent trip to Tulum and Valladolid, Mexico.
If you want / need a new cake stand, I think this one could be dressed up or down.
Want to get creative and eat cake, sift through my piece of cake board on pinterest.
April showers bring May flowers; you need to follow Swallow and Damsons instagram account if you don’t already.
I really need to find these boots for summer.
Check out new items on the Mercantile.

Amond Joy

Almond Flour

Flourless Chocolate Quinoa Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze

February 5, 2015

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

I love to gather good food and friends around the table. It’s my way of contributing to and nourishing the relationships in my life. I think a cooked meal is the perfect way to say I care for you.

I recently made this cake for a small gathering. My Auntie V passed this recipe along to me. She is quite a cook and baker so I always trust her recommendations. But I thought I might be stepping out on a limb with a quinoa dessert for men. I know my husband would be disappointed with the discovery of quinoa replacing flour. However, when I was in the kitchen glazing this decadent chocolate cake he stopped to ask me if the cake was for photographing or eating! So, I think the quinoa can be our little secret!

The recipe for this gluten free chocolate quinoa cake can be found here. I made a couple slight modifications. I added a ½ teaspoon of almond flavoring to the wet ingredients and I used 2 teaspoons of baking powder instead of the recommended 1 ½ teaspoons. My Aunt mentioned that her cake fell in the center so I thought I would try adding a little more leavening agent, and to my surprise no sink hole. If you add extra baking powder let me know if it works for you too. Also for the chocolate glaze I made homemade whipping cream instead of using Cool Whip. I beat 1 cup of heavy whipping cream with 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla paste. I then beat the cooled chocolate into the whipping cream and spread over the cake and refrigerated. I whipped the remaining cream from the pint and again added 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla paste. I removed the cake from the fridge and spread a little over the chocolate glaze and topped with raspberries. I refrigerated again until dinner. I had extra whipped cream so I froze a couple dollops for hot cocoas on another day.

What better way to say I love you then with a big piece of chocolate cake for Valentine’s Day! This flourless chocolate quinoa cake is a must try! Incredibly decadent and very German chocolate-esque.

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and Raspberries (700x340)

Vogue Gardening & Country Carrot Cake

October 12, 2014

Vogue Gardening

Can you believe my horse, Buddy, doesn’t like carrots or apples?


I made this cake for my oldest sister’s birthday a couple weeks ago. It’s a traditional carrot cake with a couple twists. Currants in lieu of raisins, limited spices, and grated pear for extra moisture. I also included goat cheese in the frosting, unexpected tang with every sweet bite!

In case you want something less traditional, try this Cocoa Carrot Cake with Cocoa Crumble. I also made this a couple weeks ago for a party. Unlike the recipe, I baked mine in a 9”x13” pan for about an hour and cut into individual squares for serving. My take on a Coffee Cake with a W O W factor.

Celebrate the Indian Summer we have all been enjoying and EAT CAKE this week!

Black Betty

Country Carrot Cake // serves 12 to 15

1 ½ c. canola oil
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
2 c. grated carrots
1 c. grated pear
2 ½ c. flour
1 tsp. soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
½ c. currants

Preheat oven to 350 F.

With an electric mixer, mix together wet ingredients. Sift together dry ingredients and whisk together. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture in batches. Stir in currants.

Spray two 9-inch circular cake pans and line with parchment paper. Spray again and dust with flour. Divide batter into two pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick at 35 minutes. If removed and clean, cake is done baking. If not clean, bake for remaining 10 minutes.

Allow cakes to cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife along the edge and invert onto a cooling rack.


8 oz goat cheese, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ c. butter, room temperature
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
3 c. powdered sugar
¼ c. toasted pecans, for topping

In a mixing bowl with whisk attachment add cheese, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Add powdered sugar in batches and continue whisking until smooth and creamy.

I like to individually wrap the cooled cakes in saran and freeze before frosting. I think it makes frosting a cake a lot easier. I am not too methodical when it comes to frosting but here is a step by step process for mastering layer cakes.

Country Carrot Cake

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