Butter Celebrates! Banana Pecan Caramel Cake and a Giveaway! {Giveaway Closed}

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

So I have this friend. She likes cake.

She likes cake so much that she eats a slice every. single. day. She takes her cake eating very seriously. If she’s out for dinner, she’ll order a slice of cake for dessert. If she’s eating in she’ll buy a slice of cake on the way home. If she comes over for dinner, she’ll always bring a cake. She’s a good friend to have.

(I seriously have a friend like this. I’m not talking about myself. Although you can usually count on me for sweet treats. I also really really like cake.)

And this banana pecan caramel cake is the perfect cake for cake lovers. Just look at it. First of all, the layers. There’s four of them. FOUR! Four layers of moist (yep, I said it) banana cake studded with pecans. And in between each layer is a thick schmear of caramel buttercream frosting. CARAMEL BUTTERCREAM. Also known as the lovechild of fluffy buttercream and caramel sauce. Four layers of cake means four layers of buttercream. It’s just math.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

You can find the recipe for this luxurious cake on page 113 in the “Welcome Wagon” chapter of Butter Celebrates! Rosie Daykin’s latest cookbook. In case you don’t already know Rosie, allow me to introduce you. Rosie Daykin is the owner of the Butter Baked Goods bakery in Vancouver. Next time I find myself in Vancouver, you can bet I will be making a stop at Butter. Rosie’s first cookbook, Butter Baked Goods was released in 2013 and is a national best seller. Her latest creation, Butter Celebrates! A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share takes us through the seasons and shares recipes for delectable treats to enjoy during various holidays and special occasions. Rosie covers everything from Valentine’s Day to Mother’s Day to Summer Celebrations to Halloween to Christmas, and even shares a few recipes for our furry friends, inspired by her rescue pup, Zelda. (My girl Bella is already begging me to test out those treats). It might be the most beautiful cookbook I have ever owned, with 259 pages of gorgeous photos and mouthwatering recipes. And can I get an amen for a cookbook that includes a photo of every single recipe? I mean, how can I be sure that a recipe wasn’t a massive fail if I have no idea what the thing is supposed to look like when I’m finished? Rosie’s got us covered.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

In her book, Rosie encourages us all to take the time to celebrate the little and big moments in life, preferably with cake. Now that’s a life goal that I can get behind.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

Choosing a recipe to share was damn near impossible, as I flagged nearly every other page during my first flip through the book. I honestly cannot wait to try everything. Alas, I had to make a decision, and settled on this banana pecan caramel cake. My inability to consume bananas before they get too ripe for every day eating means I almost always have bananas on hand to bake with. The idea of an indulgent cake instead of my usual healthy banana muffins or banana bread just seemed too good to pass up. And holy heck, this cake did not disappoint.

The good news is that there is an opportunity for one of you lucky devils to win this glorious cookbook along with a box of goodies from Rosie’s bakery. If that isn’t an early Merry Christmas, I don’t know what is!

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

Good luck to all of you and happy holidays!

Please be sure to check out more incredible treats from my fellow Butter Celebrates! blogger pals in celebration of this gorgeous cookbook!

And now, for the giveaway!

One lucky reader will win a personally signed Butter Celebrates! cookbook from the lovely Rosie herself along with a delicious box of goodies from her bakery in Vancouver. Umm, yum! More details are listed below. Good luck!

Simply leave a comment below and tell me your favourite holiday tradition (mandatory). Be sure to click the widget options below for both mandatory and optional bonus entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to all legal residents of Canada who have reached the age of majority at the time of the contest in the province or territory in which they reside. Void in Quebec.

Winner must answer a skill-testing question.

No purchase necessary to enter.

Giveaway will run from Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 12:01am to Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 11:59pm. Winner will be contacted via email and name will be displayed on Rafflecopter widget. Email address will never be given out to any third party or anyone for that matter.

Prize value is approximately $125.

Butter Celebrates! Banana Caramel Pecan Cake

A big warm thank-you to Jenny Jack of the Brunette Baker for organizing this blog hop and Rosie Daykin of Butter Baked Goods for providing this super sweet giveaway!

Disclosure: The Butter Celebrates! A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share cookbook was provided to me by Random House of Canada Limited for review at no cost. All opinions are my own. I truly adore this book.

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

Alright alright, so I’ve been real well-behaved over the past month, sharing healthy recipes and all that jazz. But it’s time to get back to the good stuff. The sweet, buttery, chocolate-laden stuff.

And I’m not sure that there are words for these little squares of delight. At least, no words that will do them justice.

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

Every so often, I try to do a clean-out of my cupboard. I always seem to have half-bags of a variety of chocolate, nuts, and other baking mix-ins hanging around. I had leftover dark chocolate and caramel left over from making my salted caramel bark over the holidays. I was very tempted to make another batch of the bark, but the previous batch had been a little too hard to resist, even from the depths of my freezer. I tend to lack willpower around frozen chocolate, what can I say?

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

Therefore, I was on the hunt for a new recipe. When I came across Deb’s recipe for blondies and realized that I’d never made blondies before, it was a no-brainer. The base recipe is great, and provides lots of room for switching up the flavors and mix-ins.

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

Friends, I have not been this excited about a cookie in a while. But these little things are AMAZING. First of all, we’ve got brown butter, which just seems to make everything a little bit better. Then we add in some toasted macadamia nuts for a little buttery crunch, chunks of caramel for a little chew, and some dark chocolate, just because. Oh, and then we add a sprinkle of coarse sea salt on top, just because I’m obsessed with that sweet/salty combo. #cantstopwontstop

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

It’s true what they say, blondies have more fun! But don’t take my word for it!

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

These blondies are so adaptable to whatever mix-ins you’ve got on hand. Basically, you need one cup of mix-ins, so change it up and try out different combinations. Please note that I’ve also added the metric measurements for some of the ingredients. I have been using my kitchen scale more often in baking, simply because I find that it helps me to produce more consistent results. I recommend using a scale if you have one. 

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter

1 cup (238 grams) dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch of sea salt

1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour

1/3 cup toasted macadamia nuts, chopped

1/3 cup caramel pieces (I used 8 Kraft caramels, chopped)

1/3 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 x 8 pan with non-stick spray.

Toast your macadamia nuts – spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for about 5 minutes. Check frequently to ensure they don’t burn.

Brown your butter! Combine brown butter and brown sugar and beat together. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the sea salt, flour, and mix-ins. Press the cookie dough into the pan. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt (I used about half a teaspoon). Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to brown and the center is set. Do not overbake! Allow the blondies to cool in the pan, then slice into squares. Nosh!

Brown Butter Blondies with Macadamia Nuts, Caramel, and Dark Chocolate | Once Upon a Recipe

And if you want to be downright gluttonous, do what I did, and add a little drizzle of salted caramel. This is living, friends!

Giving Thanks | Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip













Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!

Today I will be making a concentrated effort to stuff myself to the gills with turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Actually, pumpkin this, which is what I will be contributing to tonight’s dinner. I can’t wait to try it! Oh, and I don’t doubt that there will be plenty of wine consumption as well. What is a day holiday without wine?













Every Thanksgiving, we are encouraged to think about what we are thankful for. I remember as a young child in grade school, art classes around this time of year were always focused on colorful leaves, turkeys, and giving thanks. Even now, twenty years later, I still take a moment to think about some of the wonderful things in my life at Thanksgiving.

Driving to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday (the first of two), I passed many houses with cars in the driveways and lining the streets. I thought of all of the families and friends gathering together to share a meal and give thanks for this beautiful life that we live. And I felt so thankful knowing that I had a house full of family waiting for me. I know that not everyone is so lucky.

























It’s kind of a shame that we don’t recognize all of these wonderful things more often. It’s so darn easy to get caught up in day-to-day life and to focus on negative things. How tired we are, how much work we have to do, how we don’t have the money to do this or buy that, and the list goes on. We live in a bit of a pessimistic society, no?

So today, I encourage you to think of five things in your own life that you are most thankful for. You don’t have to share them with anyone but yourself. But you might be surprised at just how much you’ve got goin’ on. You’re pretty awesome, in case you need to be reminded.

























Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today or not, I do encourage you to try this little number. This dip comes from one of my coworkers (thanks K!) – she brought it to a potluck at work and everyone raved about it. Apparently she always gets requests for “the apple dip” when attending potlucks, and I can see taste why. It is SO delicious! And incredibly simple. And a great way to enjoy Fall’s apple bounty! I brought it to dinner yesterday, and when we ran out of apples, we just used our fingers to finish it off. We’re classy like that.













Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip

8 oz. light cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed

~1/3 to 1/2 cup caramel sauce

2 Skor bars, finely chopped

Mix the cream cheese and brown sugar together well. Spread evenly into the bottom of a shallow dish (~8 x 10″) or pie plate. Pour the caramel sauce over top and gently spread it out evenly. Feel free to add more or less caramel, depending on your tastes. Top with the chopped Skor bar. You could also top with shaved or chopped chocolate, if you prefer. Cover and refrigerate until consumption. Serve with sliced apples. Pears would be delicious too!














Take good care, friends! xoxo

For Dad | Homemade Snickers Bars

Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful fathers out there! I know I promised you a summer drink recipe, but that had to be bumped by the above discovery. I had been searching for a sweet treat to make for my dad for today’s celebration when I came across a recipe for homemade Snickers bars. My dad is a huge fan of chocolate, nuts, and chewiness, so I knew these would be a winner. The recipe takes some time, as these bars require four separate layers with setting times in between, but it is so easy. I drank wine and watched a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives marathon in between each step. Made the time fly by! Bowls also had to be licked clean, so I kind of had my work cut out for me. 😉

These bars were whipped up last night and then set overnight in the fridge. I took them out this morning, let them sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, and then sliced them up into nice little squares. We ate a few for post-brunch dessert (dessert should be mandatory after every meal, don’t you agree?) and then I popped the rest into my dad’s freezer. He is a sucker for frozen chocolate bars, so I doubt they will last very long. I may or may not have snuck a few pieces home with me…and may or may not have just tiptoed downstairs at a rather late hour to drink a glass of water go to the bathroom eat one. These are seriously good. And dangerously addictive.

To my Dad – thank you…for loving me for 27 years, no matter what. For teaching me how to throw a ball, ride a bike, and drive a car (that last one was a bit of a challenge, wasn’t it?). For still loving me after that one time when you picked me up from school when I was sick and I threw up all over your back when you were carrying me to the car (sorry about that). For cheering me on and coaching me in the sports I played. For helping me with my Math homework (until it became too complicated for the both of us to understand). For showing me the value of having a good sense of humor, for always making me laugh, and for passing along a good dose of stubbornness. A competitive nature too. For encouraging me. For offering to beat up anyone who hurt my feelings. For wiping my tears and telling me it will be okay, even when I didn’t believe it. For supporting me, through it all. For everything. I love you more than words can say.

Homemade Snickers Bars (from How Sweet It Is)

Layer One (chocolate):

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter

Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick spray. Melt the chocolate and peanut butter together in a double boiler, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool in the fridge until completely set.

Layer Two (nougat):

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/2 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

1 tsp. vanilla

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off the heat and fold in the peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer and spread evenly. Return to fridge to cool completely.

Layer Three (caramel):

1 14-ounce bag of caramels (just under 2 cups)

1/4 cup whipping cream

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Pour over the nougat layer and return to fridge to cool completely.

Top layer (chocolate):

1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips

1/4 cup peanut butter

Follow the same steps as you did for the first layer. Allow to set in the fridge, then cover and return to fridge and leave overnight. Cut into small squares.

Whatever you do, make these. And if you can’t, I will make some for you. But only if I can keep a few for myself.

Happy New Year! | Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting

Happy New Year! I am still adjusting back to real life after an amazing Christmas with family and friends. I have already had 10 glorious days off from work (and a couple left!), and lots of time spent with the most important people in my life. After having Christmas with my family, I hopped on a plane and joined honey and his family in Manitoba for 5 more days of rest and relaxation. It was so great to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and lounge around on a farm for a few days. Thanks to all who made it memorable!

January usually brings with it a sense of dread – the holiday season is over, yet we still have 4 months (or more) of winter left! Yuck. But somehow, we manage to make it through each year, and I know that this year will be no different. I’m sure that planning a trip to an exotic location wouldn’t hurt either…

Over the holidays, I made this pumpkin spice layer cake and brought it to Christmas dinner at my aunt’s house. The cake was deliciously moist, and the caramel and cream cheese frosting added a wonderful richness. This would be a great dessert year round, but especially over fall and winter because of the warm spicy pumpkin flavor. Happy eating!

Pumpkin Spice Layer Cake with Caramel and Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Bon Appétit, Nov. 2008)

For the cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground allspice

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 tsp. finely grated orange peel

For the frosting:

4 cups icing sugar, divided

1/2 cup plus 1 TBSP. heavy whipping cream

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. salt

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

For the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans, tapping out any excess flour. Whisk first 9 ingredients in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the pumpkin, sugar, and oil in another large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate between additions. Mix in the orange peel. Add flour mixture; beat on low speed just to blend. Divide the batter between prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pans for about 10 minutes. Invert onto a cooling rack, then turn top side up and cool completely.

For the frosting: Sprinkle 1/2 cup of icing sugar over the bottom of a non-stick skillet. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts (do not stir). Continue cooking until the sugar turns a deep amber color, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Carefully stir in 1/2 cup cream, vanilla, and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Stir until any caramel bits dissolve. Stir in remaining 1 TBSP. cream. Strain into a small bowl. Cool caramel to room temperature.

Sift 2 cups of icing sugar into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl. Gradually beat in the icing sugar. Beat in cooled caramel. Gradually add in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of icing sugar until a good icing consistency is reached (you may not need to use all of the sugar). Cover and chill the frosting until firm enough to spread, about 2 hours.

Using a long serrated knife, trim rounded tops from cakes. Place one cake layer on the cake plate, cut side up. Spread 3/4 cup of frosting over top. Place second cake layer, cut side down, atop frosting. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, creating a smooth surface. You can make this up to two days ahead. Cover the cake and chill in fridge. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours before serving. For an extra garnish, sprinkle candied orange peel over the top of the cake (which I could not find anywhere!).

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