Shhhhhhhhhh! Do not tell my editor I’m sharing this recipe here today, ok? Please?
As you may know from my absence, I’m currently wrapping up my next cookbook, Sweet and Simple: Desserts for Two. Did I ever officially announce it? Probably not. For that, I’m sorry. I figured you saw it in social media, but I really should have made an announcement here.
This next cookbook has even more dessert for two recipes! I mean, you expected that much, right? I don’t think I will ever run out of recipes to scale down. Cooking and baking for two is truly my obsession in life.
However, the cool, new direction I’m taking this next book is EASY simple desserts. I mean, we all love our complicated classic desserts—a small batch of eclairs, macarons, and crepes. But when you really want dessert, you gotta have it quick! And it’s gotta be easy.
The recipes in my next book are simple and fast to throw together, and usually don’t have more than 10 ingredients. Crazy, right? Exactly what you’ve always been wanting, right?
The book comes out February 7, 2017. I’m going to be your Valentine again! I really think you should pre-order a copy now for your Valentine.
I was sitting outside with a cup of tea one morning a few months ago, and I was brainstorming about how I could best share my crazy world of mini desserts with you. Sometimes I feel like this ‘for two’ obsession is all up in my head, and I don’t express it enough. I mean, it’s perfect for date night, it’s perfect for small cravings (when you don’t want to kill your diet), and it’s perfect for people who live alone and don’t want 16 pieces of leftover dessert. The way I see it, everyone has a need for small batch desserts in their life.
I started to think about what makes people jump on the mini dessert bandwagon. It’s usually a simple pan of brownies. Once you see how fun it is to bake in a bread loaf pan and get two servings of something, you guys usually go nuts over the concept and buy all the mini bakeware pans! Then, you email me and ask me exactly where I get my pans. And you check in with me on Facebook to let me know you found another mini pan. It’s great! I love our community.
So, all this to say: I divided up the cookbook chapters by pan size. That’s right! If you have a bread loaf pan, you can make every recipe in that chapter. Did you invest in a mini 6″ cake pan (bless you)? Here are 20 new ways to use it. Do you have a regular muffin pan? We’re going to use 4-6 divots and make mini desserts.
To be specific, the chapters include:
1. MINI COOKIE SHEET I specifically use a quarter sheet pan (I talk all about it here), and I love all the small batches of cookies we bake on it. And the mini hand pies. And tarts. It’s all so good and sweet!
2. STANDARD BREAD LOAF PAN If you have an 8″ bread loaf pan, it will work with some minor baking time adjustments (or your brownies will just be gooier–YUM!)
3. MUFFIN PAN Everyone has one of these, right? We can make cupcakes, mini pies, and even homemade candy in it!
4. RAMEKINS Someone gave you a creme brulee set at your wedding shower. I just know it. My obsession with ramekins is strong (I’d love to share a photo some day of my cabinet full of them!). For this book, we’re using the classic 4- ounce creme brulee ramekins. Nothing else.
5. 6″ ROUND CAKE PAN This is one of the first pans people typically buy once they’ve joined my cult—I mean, my mini baking brigade. We don’t call ourselves a cult anymore, we swear. We’ve found that scares people away.
Moving on, the 6″ cake pan has become much easier to find over the years, and I’d like to take all the credit for that–hah! I find mine at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s in the cake decorating section. It’s typically the top layer of a wedding cake, so it’s easy to find.
6. 8″ SQUARE PAN Ok, so the standard 8″ brownie pan serves slightly more than two. I know it. But, I really wanted to give you options with these recipes. The second most common question I get on this site is ‘can I double this recipe?’ So, I knew I wanted to include some recipes for smaller desserts in this pan. Instead of a 3 layer birthday cake, a small birthday cake in this pan is perfect-o.
And that’s why we’re here today, friends. This donut gooey butter cake is made in a 8×8″ square brownie pan. It’s smaller than your typical gooey butter cake recipes (which is usually made in a 9×13″ pan), but larger than my mini pumpkin gooey butter cake made in a bread loaf pan.
This cake, you guys. It made me shut my mouth. (And that, like, seriously never happens). It made me silent. It made me weak in the knees. I had to sit down and catch my breath after taking a bite. I may have moaned, too.
It took me all of 6 seconds to realize the flavor of this cake. GLAZED DONUTS. I don’t know how I did it, but this cake tastes like glazed donuts.
I’m over here waiting for my awards, merits, and recognition for creating something so delicious.
This recipe is in the Sweet & Simple Cookbook, and I’m so happy to share this little preview of the book with you today.
Grab your copy by pre-ordering it now, and I’ll get the heart-shaped box of chocolates ready. We’re going to have a great Valentine’s Day, friends!
Thank you for letting me share some preview photos from the book here. Almost all of the recipes in the book are new and never-seen-before on this site. I did include a few fan favorites that you guys can’t get enough of, just in case, though.
I really appreciate the pre-orders that are rolling in, you guys. Pre-orders help authors get on best-seller lists (and thus spread the small-batch baking gospel even further!). They also help prevent book shortages during the first few months of release. I’m sure you remember the 2 times that Dessert for Two has been difficult to find due to shortages (I still have nightmares about it). However, a big pre-order campaign for Sweet & Simple will help prevent this! And if you order now, you’re guaranteed to get it before Valentine’s Day! It’s the perfect gift for your honey.
Last but not least: I present to you the best recipe to ever come out of my kitchen: homemade gooey butter cake from scratch not using a cake mix that totally tastes like donuts (my alternate title for this recipe).
Yields 8 pieces
15 minPrep Time
55 minCook Time
1 hr, 10 Total Time
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for serving
- First, preheat the oven to 350. Line a 8x8-inch baking pan one direction with parchment paper (meaning it covers the bottom and only two sides of the pan. Lightly spray the exposed sides with cooking spray).
- First, make the bottom layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter and sugars.
- Add the eggs and salt and whisk well to combine. Finally, add the flour and baking powder.
- Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan, and press flat using your hands. It’s a bit sticky—flour your fingers to help spread it evenly.
- Next, wipe out the bowl, and add the cream cheese and brown sugar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Next, add the eggs and vanilla. Beat until combined. Finally, add the powdered sugar and beat until homogenous.
- Pour the top layer on the crust.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the center only has a slight jiggle. Don’t over-bake (or it won’t be gooey).
- Let cool completely, and then refrigerate or freeze until firm enough to cut evenly.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.