Holiday desserts to impress your guests

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By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist
By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist
By Chloe Nordquist By Chloe Nordquist

Instead of settling on simple desserts this season, Jay Murphy of KAK Shop in Phoenix demonstrated ways to spice up simple desserts to look more festive.

Instead of plain sugar cookies, Murphy made the cookies in to the shape of sweaters and decorated them to create ugly sweater cookies.

Ugly sweater cookie kits are available for purchase at his shop.

Murphy also demonstrated how adding an ice cream cone to the top of a cupcake and decorating it with icing creates a Christmas tree cupcake.

For a challenge, Murphy displayed his "cake-pie" -- a dessert that consists of 3 pies baked inside a cake.

For more information, visit www.thekakshop.com.

Gingerbread Cupcake
1 ¾ cup All-Purpose Four
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter melted
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup molasses
1 each large egg
½ cup water

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line cupcake pan with liners
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
3. In large bowl whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, molasses and egg.  Add half the water and half of the dry mixture stir to combine
4. Add the remaining water and dry and stir to combine
Divide the batter evenly among liners.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes

Maple frosting
¼ cup butter softened
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk

1. In bowl of mixer add butter, salt, maple syrup and mix with paddle, slowly add sugar 1 cup at a time and beat
2. Beat in vanilla
3. Beat in milk slowly one teaspoon at a time. Beat until fluffy

Royal icing
I each egg white
2 cups powdered sugar

In bowl beat egg white and slowly add powdered sugar and beat until stiff (may need more or less sugar for desired consistency)

Christmas tree cupcake
Cupcakes
Frosting
Sugar ice cream cone (cone shaped)
Royal icing
Green food coloring
Pastry bag

Bake and frosted cooled cupcake, place one cone on each cupcake.  Add green coloring to royal icing and place in pastry bag. Cut a "v" shape on the tip. Pipe leaf shape onto cone starting at bottom to top

Pumpecapple Cake
1 8" baked pumpkin pie
1 spice cake mix
1 8" baked pecan pie
1 white cake mix
2 teaspoon pumpkin spice mix
1 8" baked apple pie
1 chocolate cake mix
4 cups cream cheese frosting
1 cup chopped pecans
¼ cup caramel sauce
3-9" round cake pans

Bake and cool all 3 pies
Prepare spice cake mix pour 1/3 of batter into one pan and place the apple pie in pan and press to remove any air pockets. Pour the remaining cake batter over the pie and place into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Let cool completely.  Chill for several hours before removing from pan
Repeat with chocolate cake and pecan pie and prepare white cake adding 2 teaspoons of pumpkin spice mix, pour 1/3 into pan add cooled pumpkin pie and pour remaining batter over top and bake until firm and golden

Pie crust recipe (for 4 crusts)
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups butter (cut into pieces and cold)
¾ - 1 cup cold water
In large processor all flour, salt and sugar, pulse to blend
Add cold butter and pulse until pea-sized lumps appear
Slowly add water a little at a time and pulse until dough just comes together
Remove, divide into 4 equal pieces, wrap in plastic and chill for a minimum of 2 hours to rest
Roll out 3 crusts and place in 3 - 8" pie pans, reserve the 4th piece for the top of the apple pie

Apple filling
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
6 cups of sliced apples (tart is best)
1 tablespoon butter (cut into pieces)

Egg wash: 1 egg lightly beaten 1 tablespoon of milk
Mix all the sugars, flour and the spices, add the apples and lemon juice
Place mixture into pie crust and scatter butter pieces on top
Roll out the remaining pie dough into a 10" circle and place on top of the apples
Press the edges of the top and base dough to seal
Cut a few slits in the top for venting
Brush the top with the egg wash and sprinkle with white sugar
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly
Cool and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight

Pumpkin filling
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt
1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup sour cream
3 large eggs

In a small bowl mix the dry ingredients together and set aside
In large bowl combine the remaining ingredients
Add the dry and whisk until smooth
Pour into pie crust
Bake 325 for 55 minutes or until the center is set but slightly jiggly
Cool and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight

Pecan filling
Pre-bake the pie crust: 350 oven for 15-20 minutes
Filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 cups chopped toasted pecans
1 to 2 tablespoons bourbon
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten

In a medium sauce pan combine the butter, sugar, salt, and corn syrup
Heat on medium high until starts to boil, continue to boil for 1 minute
Remove from heat and stir in the pecans, bourbon and vanilla, set aside to cool
For 5 minutes beat in the egg and pour into hot pie crust
Place on a sheet pan to catch any spillage while baking
And return to oven and bake 40-50 minutes until set and center is slightly jiggly

Spice cake
1 ½ cup cake flour sifted
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon all spice
½ cup butter softened
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

In mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients
Add the butter and with paddle mix on low slowly add the milk and vanilla increase the speed to medium
Beat on medium for 1 ½ minutes
Add the eggs one at a time scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition

Chocolate cake
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
½ cup hot water

In mixing bowl add the dry ingredients and mix with whisk attachment
In separate bowl combine the milk, eggs, oil and vanilla and mix
Add the mixture to the dry on low
Mix for 5 minutes on low speed
Add the hot water and mix until smooth

Pumpkin spice cake
1 ½ cup cake flour sifted
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ cup butter softened
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg whites

In mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients
Add the butter and with paddle mix on low slowly add the milk and vanilla increase the speed to medium
Beat on medium for 1 ½ minutes
Add the eggs one at a time scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition

Cream cheese frosting
1/2 cup butter softened
1-8 oz packages of cream cheese softened
3 cups powdered sugar sifted
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon vanilla
Beat the butter and cream cheese with paddle until smooth
Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat
Beat in lemon juice and vanilla

Caramel sauce
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon butter

In heavy sauce pan on high heat add the water and bring to a boil, immediately add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
Do not stir after the sugar has dissolved
Bring to a boil
Occasionally with a pastry brush, brush clean water on the sides of the pan to wash down any sugar on the inside of the pan (a spray bottle with clean water can be used to mist the sides of the pan***bottle must be clean and used only for this purpose***)
The sugar will start to turn golden, slowly swirl the sugar around the pan to mix, when all the sugar is a medium golden brown remove for heat and add a small amount of cream.  ****This will cause very hot steam so pour carefully keep hands away***
With whisk stir in remaining cream, whisk until smooth and stir in butter
Pour into clean heat proof container.

Assemble the Pumpecapple Cake
On a sturdy base place the cooled pumpkin cake
Spread ½ cup of frosting over the top
Place the chocolate/pecan cake on top
Spread ½ cup of frosting over the top
Place the apple cake on the top
Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake
Carefully press the pecans around the base of the cake by placing them in the palm of your hand and gently pressing
Using a spoon or squeeze bottle drizzle the caramel sauce over the top, letting some run down the sides
Chill the cake for several hours before serving