All Posts By Amanda Rettke

Amanda is a wife, mom, baker and creative force behind She homeschools her four children, lives in the land of 10,000 lakes and is self-appointed president of the Committee to Get Ina Garten on Twitter. (Amanda tweets at @iambakertweets)

Autumn in a Pan: Pumpkin Caramel Skillet Cake with Maple Glaze

by in Recipes, October 28th, 2015

Pumpkin Caramel Skillet Cake with Maple GlazeI’m going to make you a promise: This pumpkin cake will impress everyone who tries it. It will fill your kitchen with the sweet smell of homemade caramel sauce, the gentle and comforting spices of fall, and a warmth that cuts right through a bitterly cold wind. People often ask me for the recipe, and like a good Midwestern girl, I am happy to share!

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The Ultimate Fall Dessert: Apple-Cinnamon Layer Cake with Gooey Caramel Drizzle

by in Recipes, October 5th, 2015

Apple-Cinnamon Layer Cake with Gooey Caramel DrizzleThere is nothing quite as magical and comforting as fall baking. The changing colors of the leaves usually means we can start using cinnamon and apples. This impressive cake is filled with those familiar flavors, and it’s simply a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty and essence of fall.

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No-Bake Frozen S’mores Cheesecake

by in Recipes, July 29th, 2015

No-Bake Frozen S'mores CheesecakeI am all about easy and fun this summer. We strive to spend as much time outside as possible, but when I am inside, in front of a hot oven is the last place I want to be. That’s why this recipe is a great one: It has a really fun and eye-catching design, and it is NO-BAKE!

This dessert was made with special care to honor the traditional s’more as much as possible. It has a thick graham cracker crust, and a rich and creamy chocolate cheesecake center topped with an ooey-gooey layer of melted marshmallows.

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Confetti Monkey Bread, Because Everything Is Better with Sprinkles

by in Recipes, May 29th, 2015

Confetti Monkey BreadIf you love monkey bread as much as I do, you are not going to want to miss this delicious from-scratch recipe. Imagine the delight and awe of a birthday boy or girl waking up to this delicious and beautiful treat.

You can make this from-scratch monkey bread in the morning or the night before, but if you are planning on making it the morning, be sure to get up early or plan on having it for brunch. When making bread from scratch there is a proofing period in addition to the baking, and this can add considerable time to the process.

If you read through the recipe, one thing you may have noticed is that I used cinnamon extract (commonly found in most grocery stores) in place of cinnamon. This was purely for aesthetic purposes, as I wanted to create a beautifully light and colorful monkey bread. If you are not opposed to a dark brown confetti bread, feel free to omit the extract and substitute 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon.

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Bake Your Cake and Eat It Too: A Lighter, Naked Chocolate Cake with Fruit

by in Recipes, January 10th, 2015

Skinny Chocolate CakeIf there is one thing that most of us can agree on, it is that we have the best of intentions when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. We want to eat better, exercise more, watch less TV and save money.

But it is hard. While I cannot help with all of those resolutions, I can try to help with the “eating better.”

This stunning cake is a Naked Cake, or a cake that is made with less sugar and fat and has fewer calories. The trick to making a delicious chocolate naked cake is using a good-quality chocolate and a flavorful sugar substitute. The star of the cake is in fact the chocolate. I used a good-quality cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips and then complemented them with the sweet natural sugars found in the fruits that adorn the cake.

Add to that a homemade whipped cream (where you can control the sugar) and a no-fat chocolate sauce, and you have a decadent cake that will satisfy all your sweet cravings!

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Holiday Entertaining Made Easy: Wake Up to Breakfast Cookies

by in Entertaining, Holidays, December 16th, 2014

Breakfast CookiesI find that breakfast is one of the hardest meals to plan for in entertaining. People seem to get up at different times, and coordinating a delicious treat for everyone, no matter the time they wander into the kitchen, is a never-ending struggle. Well, it was before I stumbled upon the idea for scrumptious breakfast cookies.

What makes the perfect breakfast cookie? After performing a very informal poll, I determined that people like a low-sugar cookie. They also seem to really like the addition of oatmeal. Most folks feel that cookies without oatmeal are like a regular cookie and therefore a bit to decadent for an early morning treat. As far as the addition of chocolate, it was determined that less is more. While everyone loves an ooey-gooey chocolate cookie in the afternoon, a morning cookie should utilize a hint of chocolate, so it is more of an accompanying flavor — not the star of the show.

I am sharing three recipes for breakfast cookies that are easy to make, assemble and serve. These are not your average oatmeal-and-raisin cookies. These unique flavors will delight the taste buds and are the perfect complement to all holiday entertaining.

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One Recipe for Brownies, Five Fun (and Easy) Ways to Jazz Them Up

by in Recipes, May 3rd, 2014

One Recipe for Brownies, Five Fun Ways to Jazz Them UpBrownies: Whether cakey or fudgy, milk or dark chocolate (or blondies), they’re a treat even the pickiest of eaters can get behind. The next time you whip up a batch, think outside the box. Use your favorite brownie recipe (or try one of Food Network‘s) and check out these five ways to keep brownies the main event at the dessert table.

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How to Make Candy Corn Hi-Hat Cupcakes for Halloween

by in Holidays, October 15th, 2013

Candy Corn Hi-Hat CupcakesHi-hat cupcakes are one of the most beautiful and decadent ways to enjoy a cupcake; while they can seem intimidating, they are actually very easy to make.

I am a big fan of surprise-inside treats and my cupcakes are no exception. These hat cupcakes hide a sweet fall-inspired surprise that replicates the colors of candy corn.

Find out what you’ll need to make these cupcakes

Mardi Gras Hi-Hat Cupcakes for the Entire Family

by in Holidays, February 9th, 2013

Mardi Gras Hi-Hat CupcakesThere is something so appealing about a hi-hat cupcake. It brings me back to childhood summers when we would sit outside the ice cream shop and desperately try to lick up the ice cream as it melted down our arms. Cherry-dip was always my favorite, but I was always outnumbered by the chocolate lovers.

With Mardi Gras around the corner, I thought I’d bake up something the whole family can enjoy. New Orleans is known for many institutional cocktails, but these sweets will allow the little ones to participate in the fun too. You can’t go wrong with a delectable yellow cupcake covered in sweet clouds of frosting and gently dipped in chocolate. That first bite is transcendent, the second so satisfying.

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Easy Halloween Bark

by in Holidays, Recipes, October 23rd, 2012

easy halloween bark recipeI recently came across Food Network Magazine‘s article about Mix-and-Match Chocolate Bark and was inspired to whip up something spooky for Halloween. The ingredients were simple, the directions were easy and the result was mouthwatering brilliance.

I decided to adapt the chocolate bark for the fall season and Halloween. I chose a dark-chocolate cookie with orange cream filling. You could use candy corn, orange marshmallows, orange-colored candy melts or any other Halloween-inspired treat.

Halloween Bark

1 (12-oz.) bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
15 Halloween-themed cookies (like Oreos), chopping each cookie into four pieces

Keep reading for directions