Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Cake Bomb

Day 63

As a housewarming treat for my stepdaughter, Ali, and her roommate, Megan, I decided to create a dessert in their honor. In the planning stages, I had visions of some of Ali’s favorite dessert ingredients finding their way into one dish. The question of the day quickly became how to incorporate lots of really yummy stuff into just one dish, with a very necessary favorite of Ali’s: Nutella. She loves Nutella more than anyone I know, but to be fair, we ALL love Nutella, right? Trifles and dump cakes crossed my mind, and I even considered an ice cream cake. Then, it hit me.
Copyright, Doug Kapustin Photography, 2014

One of Doug’s and my favorite restaurants near home is Hickory Ridge Grill in Columbia, Maryland. The dishes there include a mostly Mediterranean influence with a healthy smattering of American added for good measure. If you’re ever in our area, looking for a good meal in a friendly and casual atmosphere, visit Hickory Ridge Grill for sure. Our favorite dinner is the Yeeroo Platter (yes, that’s how they playfully spell it!), filled with gyro meat, feta cheese, warm pita bread, and delicious tzatziki sauce. I can’t get enough of it. Here’s the link if you’re interested, hickoryridgegrill.com .

At any rate, Hickory Ridge Grill also has a decadent dessert called a Brownie Bomb that’s nothing short of incredible. The name is fitting since it arrives at the table looking like a brownie exploded all over a thousand other deliciously sweet ingredients, including whipped cream. 

I knew I had to make my own version of this dessert, with different ingredients, for Ali and Megan’s housewarming. And so it was that the Cake Bomb was born. There’s a long list of ingredients in the dessert, but it’s very easy to make, and it’s ideal for gifts or parties since it travels well and potentially serves many guests. 

After I made it, Doug delivered it to the girls while I cleaned the kitchen. The verdict came after about an hour when Ali called to tell me they were eating it right out of the bowl. Success! 

And, to make the victory even sweeter, I’ll add that Ali and Megan’s new house is lovely. Built in the mid-1800s, it’s filled with history and character and so much charm. They’ve decorated it in an eclectic distressed chic style that suits the house very well. We love it, and we can’t wait to be invited for dinner in the very near future. Hint, hint…I might bring a Cake Bomb

Congrats, Ali and Megan, on your first home!  

Cake Bomb

1 box Pillsbury white cake mix (with “pudding in the mix”)
4 eggs
½ cup sugar
¾ cup softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 8oz. container Breakstone sour cream

1 small (~13 oz.) jar Nutella
½ cup graham cracker crumbs 
1 cup honey or brown sugar glazed pecan pieces
1 cup each, milk chocolate and caramel (or butterscotch) chips
1 cup Heath bar or toffee crumbles 
2 boxes (3.56 oz. each) Hershey’s white chocolate instant pudding mix, prepared according to package directions
2 cups Cool Whip 

For the cake-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a Bundt pan. 

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and creamy. Add sour cream and beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, until mixture is fluffy. Add cake mix and vanilla and beat until thoroughly incorporated. 

Pour into Bundt pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Invert on wire rack after 5 minutes and allow to cool completely. (I sometimes put the cake in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up this process if I’m in a hurry.)

For the pudding-
Prepare the instant pudding according to the package directions and place in refrigerator to set. Once it is completely set and thickened, gently fold in Cool Whip and return to refrigerator until ready to use. 

To assemble the Cake Bomb-
In a large glass bowl (I used a glass salad bowl because it had a flat bottom and was fairly deep, but almost any clear glass bowl could work), crumble half of the cake along the bottom, making sure to cover the entire surface.  Drizzle ½ of Nutella over cake (I warmed it in the microwave for just a few seconds to make it pourable) and sprinkle with caramel OR butterscotch chips and ½ cup of Heath Bar crumbles. Spread ½ of pudding mixture over this. For the next layer, crumble the remaining ½ of the cake, drizzle the rest of the Nutella, and sprinkle all of the milk chocolate chips and the rest of the Heath Bar crumbles. Spread the final layer of pudding, then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbles and glazed pecan pieces to garnish the top of The Bomb

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Preferably, serve within 4-5 hours. 

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