Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting

Ohhh, pumpkin spice. Is there a better fall flavor? I think not. Especially when paired with not just one, but TWO kinds of chocolate–mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and Nutella. This cake is basically gonna rock your socks off. It’s rich and moist [sorry, it is] with a perfect crumb texture that you will not be able to stop eating. Or at least, I couldn’t. The sprinkles on top make it even better!

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting |

I think this cake was the first pumpkin recipe I made this fall, and I am so glad it turned out! See, I adapted the recipe from another favorite–Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. Usually improv recipes work out, especially if there aren’t tons of changes, but ya never know.

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting |

As I whipped the cake together [literally whipped, this cake takes about two seconds to throw together], I worried that it wouldn’t bake right or something. A few years ago I had a horrible experience with a pumpkin bread recipe I adapted from a banana bread and just didn’t want a repeat of that. I didn’t need to worry though. This cake was just a dream. Perfect warm out of the oven, perfect frosted, perfect as a snack, perfect as breakfast, perfect as dessert. Perfect, perfect, perfect. When can I make it again? Or more importantly… when will you make it?

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting |

The flavor of fall and the flavor of chocolate. How can you go wrong? Especially when you add in my new favorite rich and creamy Nutella frosting. You know how smooth Nutella is by the spoonful? Well, adding cream cheese and butter and sugar, milk, and vanilla too makes it even smoother. 🙂 Be really careful when you’re frosting the cake–make sure to save enough for the cake. This frosting has a way of ending up in your mouth instead. It’s really bizarre, I say. But that’s okay–the cake is made with white whole wheat flour and a vegetable, so it’s healthy, right? 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting |

This is a cake I’d highly recommend if you like cake. Or pumpkin. Or chocolate. Cause it is just darn good. Enjoy those sprinkles too! 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake with Nutella Frosting [cake adapted from Banana Chocolate Chip Cake; frosting is a TPC original]
click to print


for Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree [not pumpkin pie filling]
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

for Nutella Frosting

  • a generous 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened [regular or Neufchatel]
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar [perhaps more]
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk [perhaps more]


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9Ă—13 inch baking dish and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low for a minute to combine. Then add pumpkin, milk, butter, eggs, and vanilla and beat on low until incorporated. Increase to medium speed and beat for 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared pan, then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely, then frost.

To making frosting, whisk together Nutella, cream cheese, butter, and vanilla. Add powdered sugar by the half cup and milk by the tablespoon, whisking well in between incorporations. Add additional powdered sugar and/or milk to reach desired consistency.

Spread on cooled cake, then top with sprinkles or more chocolate chips. Store covered in the refrigerator.

Time: 45 minutes [10 minutes active] + time to cool.

Yield: 16-20 servings, depending how you cut it.

Linked up with: Foodie Friday, Weekend Potluck.

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Blueberry Buckle

This dessert is a great way to enjoy fresh blueberries during the summertime!

Blueberry Buckle |

If I had to pick, nine times out of ten I would choose a fruit dessert over a chocolate dessert. The other time? If it was a PEANUT BUTTER and chocolate dessert, like these yummy bars. So addicting! But back to fruit. I’d had never really heard of the dessert called a ‘buckle’ until recently, but when I got a great deal on fresh Michigan blueberries, I knew I had to try it out.

Blueberry Buckle |

From what I could tell, its basically a crumb-topped blueberry coffee cake. Serious Eats gets a little more technical and explains: “A buckle is a popular New England dessert that’s made by adding berries or sliced fruit to a single layer of cake batter. During baking, the fruit sinks and the cake emerges from the oven with a “buckled” appearance.” Well, I’m not sure my berries sank quite as much as they were supposed to since I floured them before folding them in, but nevertheless, this dessert is out of this world amazing!

Blueberry Buckle |

The crumbs! The juicy berries! Whatever you do, use sweet, fresh, juicy blueberries for this treat. There isn’t much sugar so the berries really shine. We’ve been enjoying our Blueberry Buckle all week long as a light dessert, and think we’ll fancy it up tonight with some homemade vanilla ice cream. I can’t even imagine how good that’s going to be. Crumb streusel + ice cream + blueberries has got to equal fabulous, I’m sure. You can’t go wrong with this, so I hope you enjoy!

Blueberry Buckle |

P.S. So, Saturday was my three year blogiversary! I celebrated by doing nothing, haha. But I’m going to start linking back to my old recipes to bring ’em back to life. It’s crazyville to consider that I’ve been blogging here for THREE YEARS!! It’s true. 🙂 Have a great weekend!

a year ago: Mango Coconut Granola
two years ago: Lavender-Lime Scones
three years ago: Enchilada Sauce

Blueberry Buckle [from Martha Stewart]
click to print


for cake

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened + more for pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour + more for pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 5 cups blueberries, patted dry and sprinkled lightly with flour

Mrs. Kostrya’s Streusel Topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 10 inch springform pan, then set aside.

In a bowl, combine flour and baking powder. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar for 3 minutes on medium speed. Reduce speed to low and beat in egg and vanilla. Scrape sides of bowl as necessary.

Alternately add the flour mixture and milk to bowl, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Remove from mixer and fold in blueberries. Pour into prepared pan and set aside.

Prepare streusel topping by stirring together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Cut in vanilla and butter with a pastry blender or two knives. Sprinkle topping over batter.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until streusel is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then release the sides and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before cutting.

Time: 90 minutes.

Yield: 16 servings.

Linked up with: Foodie Friday, Friday Food Frenzy, and Weekend Potluck.

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake

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Sometimes in the summertime, chocolate can be given the heave-ho as berries and other summer fruits take center stage. Even so, a cake can come along to change this. Cause a girl’s gotta have her chocolate, right?!? Especially when it comes in the form of Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake. I know that’s a mouthful, and normally I shy away from giving food loooooong names, but in this case, it is totally worth it. I promise. 🙂

Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake | The Pajama Chef

This cake! Ohhh this cake. Crumb cakes just can’t be beat, can they? Well, a plain ‘ole crumb cake could get beat by this Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake, for sure. This cake is a buttery, flavorful masterpiece with a hint of sweet, tropical coconut. Using buttermilk in the cake itself just makes the batter so tangy and irresistible, and it bakes up soft and fluffy every. single. time. To lighten up the cake, I used the ‘ole half applesauce/half butter trick. For an even more decadent cake, use a full cup of butter, but really, the applesauce doesn’t affect the texture one single bit. I’m not a fan of applesauce in quick breads because the texture tends to get a little wonky, but here, the butter and buttermilk balances it out.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake | The Pajama Chef

Mixed into the batter are some mini chocolate chips and a touch of shredded coconut–see them? Mini chocolate chips > regular chocolate chips any day. Better chocolate to batter ratio, if you will. 🙂 Then, as a topper of this already amazing cake we have some crumbs. Normally, crumbs are a bad thing. A messy thing. [Think toast.] Not so with cake! These crumbs are delectable bits of sugar and butter and coconut emulsion that just melt in your mouth. I couldn’t get enough of them. Seriously folks, when I cut the cake a few crumbs happened to fall off the knife onto the floor or the countertop or even the bottom of the pan, guess where they ended up? If you guessed the trash can, you are dead wrong. If you guessed my mouth… then, well, we’re kindred spirits. For good measure, I threw some more mini chocolate chips and shredded coconut on top. This makes one heck of a cake, friends.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake | The Pajama Chef

If you like coconut and chocolate, then this is for you. I’ve been on a serious coconut kick over the past year plus and I think… I THINK… that this is the best coconut recipe that I have ever tasted. And I’ve tasted a lot of coconutty treats–candy, muffins, cookies, rice, even chicken. But this cake beats ’em all. I am extremely tempted to throw my day aside right now and head to the store for the few ingredients I need for this delightful cake. I’m starting the training for my fourth marathon soon, so I need the fuel, right? 🙂 Have a great weekend! Enjoy!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Crumb Cake [adapted from The Spiced Life]

click to print


for the cake

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened natural applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon coconut emulsion [or extract]
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

for the crumb topping

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold & cubed
  • 1 teaspoon coconut emulsion [or extract]

for finish

  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray [or your butter wrapper!].

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter on high for 1 minute. Then add applesauce and beat on medium for 1 minute to incorporate. Then add sugar and beat again until fully incorporated, scraping the sides as needed.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing between additions.

Then, stir together coconut emulsion and buttermilk. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and baking soda.

Alternately add buttermilk and flour to mixing bowl, beating on low in between additions and frequently scraping the sides. Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut.

Pour cake batter into prepared pan and set aside.

Next, prepare the crumb topping. Stir together flour and sugars, then cut in cubed butter with a pastry blender or two forks. Drizzle on coconut emulsion, then mix in with pastry blender. Sprinkle topping evenly over the batter, including the corners.

Bake for 50 minutes, then remove from oven and sprinkle with coconut. Return to oven for another 5 minutes then check for doneness with a toothpick. If toothpick does not come out clean, cover with foil and bake for another 5 minutes and check again. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately top with mini chocolate chips, then cool completely before cutting.

Time: 75 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 16-20 servings, depending how you cut it.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Mango Quick Cake Squares

Classic 1980s family recipe right here. These buttery, thin, quick cake squares were one of the desserts of my childhood. And my high school graduation party too, back in the day… 10 years ago. Yikes. On that note, we need a recipe like this to celebrate the first day of summer. And Mango Quick Cake Squares are just the thing! Soft and fruity cake that couldn’t be simpler to make.

Mango Quick Cake Squares | The Pajama Chef

This easy cake, like Monday’s Thai Tofu Ramen, has gotten a bit more sophisticated over the past ten years. Me too? One can only hope. The original Quick Cakes Squares starred classic ingredients like store-bought cherry pie filling and margarine, but when I needed a quick dessert to take to dinner at some friends’, I had to improvise. Use what I had. Remix the recipe, if you will. By using butter and mangoes. Because who store-bought cherry pie filling in their pantry? Though it is delicious….

Mango Quick Cake Squares | The Pajama Chef

These quick cake squares are a taste of the tropics in yellow cake form. Though I’ve never had a mango pie, I think I need to make one now because my mango ‘pie’ filling is super addicting, and incredibly simple. Just mangoes, coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. That’s it! Seriously good. And easy too! Just the way I like it, haha.

Mango Quick Cake Squares2

Anyways, these Mango Quick Cake Squares have minimal ingredients, take little effort, and are made in a jelly roll pan so they are great for a barbecue or a crowd. The cake batter might not look like enough to spread in the pan, but just work at it [and don’t lick the spoon prematurely] and it should spread out enough. Also, be sure to dot the pie filling on before baking. I like to use a rubber spatula to section off the batter in the pan to dot in the filling, but you can also eyeball it. I hope you’ll try these yummy cake squares–whether you choose to use mangos or cherries, you can’t go wrong! Enjoy! 🙂

Mango Quick Cake Squares [from Mom]
click to print


for mango filling

  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk [could sub regular milk or water]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 mangoes, peeled and diced

for cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened [or margarine]
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together coconut milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla, then stir in mangoes. Set aside.

With a hand or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together. Next add eggs, beating well, and mix in flour and lemon juice. Spread in a jelly roll pan [12.5×17.5×1 inch].

Section off into 24 squares gently with a rubber spatula, then dot each square with a small spoonful of mango filling. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely in the pan before cutting. Enjoy!

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 24 servings.

Notes: Also awesome with other prepared pie filling, storebought or not, like cherry. A classic taste of my childhood.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

So, not only do I have a working laptop again [yay! even though things weren’t so hard work-wise because I had a wonderful loaner laptop from some generous church friends], I also got my act together enough to share this amazing recipe I found for DOUBLE CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES! And on the most amazing day, too.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes | The Pajama ChefWhy the shouting? Well, because chocolate and strawberry are things to shout about, duh. And because today, June 14th, is National Strawberry Shortcake Day [side note: I never know food holidays. So I’m psyched about this. Really psyched!]. But it’s also Flag Day, which leads me to the most important thing about today… it’s my grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary. 70! Seven zero. Seventy. Years. Oh my goooooodness. That takes the cake today, right? Not buttery, chocolatey, shortcake that is just full of about a bazillion layers [even though it’s tasty]. Can you even believe it? This is one of my favorite pictures of them, dancing the ever-so-cheesy-yet-hopelessly-sentimental anniversary dance at our wedding. They won, even though at that point they had *only* been married for 66 years. Only. What an example, huh?

Grandma & Grandpa

You don’t see commitment and longevity to marriage and relationships like this everyday, and my family is so blessed and thankful for their example. These Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes are definitely something to celebrate with–whether it’s a regular Tuesday night [like it was when I made these for our small group this week], National Strawberry Shortcake Day, or your grandparents’ 70th wedding anniversary, these are the perfect treat.

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes | The Pajama Chef

Chocolate and strawberry are a timeless match made in heaven [just like my grandparents] and I think you should definitely make these! And oh, if you do–don’t skimp on the good stuff: use quality dark chocolate, and make your own whipped cream. It’s ridiculously easy and so much better than anything out of a can. Trust me. I wish I lived close enough to my grandparents to make this for dessert for them tonight, but this blog post will have to suffice. I’ll email it to them later today [my grandpa is super tech savvy :)] so maybe you can do me a favor and leave ’em some anniversary love too? 🙂 Happy Anniversary, G&GY! Love you!

Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes [from Lauren’s Latest]

click to print


for the shortcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, cut into small pieces

for the whipped cream

  • 1 cup whipping cream or heavy cream
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

for the strawberries

  • 1 pound strawberries, washed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease baking sheets with cooking spray or line with silpats or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, and cocoa powder, then cut in butter with two knifes or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in buttermilk and  chocolate, then spoon out onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through, watching closely to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from baking sheets immediately to cooling rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, prepare whipped cream and strawberries.

To make whipped cream, add whipping cream, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch to stand mixer and whip on high until firm peaks form. [Cover mixer with a kitchen towel to prevent splatters.] Refrigerate until serving.

For strawberries, mix together berries and sugar. Sugar isn’t necessary but it will make a yummy syrup!

To serve, top cooled chocolate shortcakes with a generous amount of whipped cream and strawberries. Enjoy!

Time: 30 minutes + time to cool.

Yield: 8 servings.

P.S. If you wanna trust me on another important strawberry and chocolate matter, be sure to order a Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Blizzard next time you’re at Dairy Queen. It’s one of those off the menu recipes, circa early 2000s, but most stores know how to make it. It is so good.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.