Guest Writer: DJ from DJ's Sugar Shack!

Guest Writer:
Dawn Johnson (DJ)
What is your name? 
Dawn Johnson (DJ)

Where do you live (Or where you grew up)? 
I' originally from New New Orleans. I now live in Girdwood, Alaska

What's your favorite recipe (Can be your own)? 
This is tough, but lately I've been in love with a Thai Curry Shrimp Curry over Coconut Ginger Rice. It doesn't require to much prep work, its simple and so good. I think I make it for dinner once a week.

What's your favorite kitchen tool? 
With out a doubt, my kitchen Aide stand mixer. It took me a long time to break down and buy one, but now I don't know how I ever lived with out it.

 What do you live by in life? (Your motto, a quote, a verse etc.)  
I have 2 quotes that I love. The first in kind of silly, but it is something my Grandfather used to say a lot when I was younger. "Whoever don't love this life must be crazy." I just helps me keep things in perspective during rough times. Things may not always turn out the way you wanted but in the end it all works out for the best.
The second is something I read in a book called A Dog's Purpose, "Failure is not an option if success is just a matter of more effort." I think that is a pretty good motto to live by.

A short paragraph about yourself
I was born and raised in New Orleans. When I graduated from college I decided to spend a summer working in Denali National Park in Alaska. Twelve years later, I'm still here. I live in Girdwood, Alaska, home of Alyeska Resort, Alaska's largest ski resort. I love the outdoors and all the adventure that Alaska offers. Oh yeah, I Love to Bake. Until I moved to Alaska, I hadn't done much cooking or baking at all. But once I started I couldn't stop.

A short paragraph about your blog
DJ's Sugar Shack is a fairly new baking blog. I started blogging in December because I wanted to share my interest with other bakers. Although my friends and family eating my treats, I'm pretty sure that they don't really care how or why I decided to bake something. Rather than boring them with the details, I started writing about my adventures in baking. I'm am truly amazed by all of awesome feedback treats have gotten in the past few months. I never imagined anyone other than my mom actually reading my posts. It is so nice to share my work with others who share the same passion for baking.

A step by step recipe: Chocolate Zucchini Bread. 
This is a favorite in my house that usually doesn't last for more than a day. It has a very rich chocolate flavor and almost is more like chocolate cake than a bread.

2 oz of unsweetened chocolate, melted ( 2 squares of Baker's Chocolate)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 cups grated zucchini, approximately 2 large zucchinis
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.
2. Grate zucchini and set aside.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, salt, & cinnamon

4. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed combine mix the chocolate, eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla & zucchini.

5. Stir in the flour mixture. Mix until all ingredients are combined.
6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
7. Bake for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick insert in middle comes out clean.

The URL to your blog-

Thanks DJ's Sugar Shack for sharing!
If you would like to be a guest writer click HERE

Orange Creamsicle Cookies

I got this cookie recipe from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

What You Need:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 firmly packed brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 tablespoons orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
2 cups Vanilla Chips

What you need to do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
 In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 
 In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. 
Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.
 Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and chips. 
 Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
 Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. 
Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. 
Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump.
 Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. 
Store in airtight container.

A Themed Baker's Sunday #29

Our winner from last week was 
Frozen Hot Chocolate by: Just Putzing Around

New Theme:
It can be anything BAKING related. Cupcakes, cakes, cookies, cake pops, bars, brownies, etc etc etc

Citrus includes:
Lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange and the various types of lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit. 
(i.e. kumquat, clementine, Ugli, tangelo, leech lime, etc)

Unicorn Poop Cookies

So I've heard these are called Unicorn Poop cookies or Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies. I like the Unicorn poop one myself because unicorns poop rainbows! Anyways, these are fun for kids; fun to eat and fun to make!
It's not too difficult, I think, yes it does take some time, but all in all I think it's worth it! And to make it easier I didn't make my own sugar cookies, because I was lazy, so I bought a packet of sugar cookie mix!

So, what you need:
Your favorite sugar cookie recipe, or a sugar cookie mix
Jimmies (Sprinkles, as you other people call it)
3-4 different food dyes
3-4 bowls

What you need to do:
Preheat oven to 350°F. 

 Divide dough evenly into 3 or 4  bowls(I did this and after words I wrapped them up in the fridge for later), depending on how many colors you're using, and color each with a different color liquid food coloring.
Grab a piece, roll around making it soft.

Roll into a thin log

Do the same step with the other colors and wrap all the logs together.


and roll!

Run the edges on some sprinkles

Bake for 10 minutes

Linked to THESE awesome blog hops.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cookies

These cookies weren't very cheesecake-y, rather a soft creamy chocolate chip cookie. They were still good, but I think I could mess with this more and perfect it! I borrowed this recipe from Sister Wisdom.
I only have one or two picture of the cookies and no step by step pictures (sorry guys) because I was hired to bake these cookies for a birthday party along with a few others and I had no time to take pictures! Again, Sorry!

What you need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
10 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
3 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips

What you'll need to do:
Preheat oven to 375.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl and set aside. 
In mixer, blend butter, sugar, egg, cream cheese, and vanilla. 
Slowly add the dry ingredients until all are incorporated. 
Lastly, Stir in the chocolate chips.

Grease a cookie sheet or use parchment paper and drop dough by the spoonful onto sheet, at least 1 inch apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown around edges.

Note: Dough can be refrigerated until firm, then rolled into a log and frozen (in air-tight freezer bag) for up to 1 month. When ready to bake, let thaw 30 minutes to 1 hour (until soft enough to slice); slice in 3/4″ wide disks and bake.

Linked to THESE Awesome Blog Hops!

Copy Cat Orange Julius

Since the theme this week for A Themed Baker's Sunday was drinks, I decided to whip up something I found over at
I have a hankering for this drink all the time, but it's just not worth going to the mall and paying $5 for a small cup, so I found this recipe!

What you'll need:
6 ounces orange juice concentrate (scoop it right out of the freezer can,save the rest for later)
4 cups milk (I hear whole milk is best, but optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups ice

What you need to do:
Place all ingredients in your blender. 
  Blend until frothy.  
Serve immediately and enjoy!

Easier than pie, right???

A Themed Bakers Sunday #28

Based off of clicks, here's your winner!
Lucky Charm Cupcakes by: AKM Designs and Delights
Congrats! Grab your 'I was Featured' button on the right side here --->

Our next theme:
Have we ever done drinks?
I don't think we have!
Link up your ades, smoothies, juices, juliuses, alcoholic, nonalcoholic, etc etc etc!
That this is all based off of clicks, so please look at other peoples recipes and give a comment!

I was a Guest Writer! Do You Want to be One?

Afternoon everyone!

I wanted announce that I was a guest writer a while back and I never posted it! Sad :(
You can see my post at Sweet Details

This made me want to do the same at my blog.
I'm looking to feature some bloggers!
I want to meet the faces behind the baking.
If you're interested, click HERE
You will answer some questions about yourself and show everyone your favorite recipe and how to bake it!
Can't wait!

My Search for the Perfect Red Velvet Cake

I will be making this a monthly linky party!
Let's say the 15th of every month I will make a new search for something! 
Why? Well, I want to have my own bakery one day. And when I do, I want to have all the recipes be my own.  
I will not take your recipe; if you have not noticed before, I tend to put my own spin on every recipe I make, even from cook books. 
If I do make your recipe I will state where I got it from, the original recipe and the 'tweeks' I have made to it. 

This linky party isn't about featuring blogs and recipes, its just about sharing and looking at others recipes. 
So, please look at other's treats, leave them a message, bookmark it, pin it, etc.! 
Please remember that if you do choose to make someone else's treat to leave a link back to the original site where you got it, giving them credit! :)

If you could not tell, I have been making multiple colored velvet cakes lately.
But some come out spongy,

 Some come out dry and a little burnt on the edges,

Some are difficult and not nearly as chocolate-y enough,

Some come out perfect, but they come from dear old Betty Crocker and you just add a few things here and there,

Some come out gritty and not the greatest texture,

Some come out too moist and fall apart,

And some are just full on flops,
This was my red velvet cake roll that just fell apart... it didn't even make it on my blog. :(

So this is why I'm on my search!
Why Red Velvet? Put simply, it's my husbands favorite.
I make it every year for his birthday and I just can't seem to find the perfect recipe for it.

This is where YOU come in!
Link up all your red velvet goodies!
Cupcakes, cakes, cake pops, fudge, cookies, brownies, etc!

A Themed Baker's Sunday #27

There has been a sad mix up. My link collection was named something else I didn't recognize and was deleted. So I have not clue who got the most clicks from last Themed Baker's Sunday. So Sorry.

Despite the bad news, let's move on to our next theme:
Borrowed this photo from Something Shiny
St. Patrick's Day!
I always love holiday treats! It always gives me ideas for this and next year and let's me check out muffins, cupcakes, cakes, cookies, cake pops, etc! 

So please link up all your kiss me I'm Irish, Top of the morning to ya, any other Irish sayings I can't think of goodies!!!
Can't wait to see them all!

That the #1 featured is all based on clicks.
Please check out other blogger's creative goodies!
No clicking on your own multiple times, doesn't work. Thanks. :)

Green Velvet Cheesecake Cake

I'm not Irish. At All. I'm Puerto Rican. But I wanted to join in on the St. Patty's Day fun, so I baked a cake. This cake has to be a semi flop. I will admit that I was impatient and that my husband was rushing me to eat this cake, so I kinda didn't let it cool all the way, and because of that, it was kinda a nightmare to decorate. So I didn't do much to make it all pretty, but it tasted really really good!! I'm going to have to make it again and make it right next time! 
This recipe was featured!

Borrowed this recipe from Recipe Girl
This is basically everything you need for this recipe.

What you need for the Cheesecake:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I ran out of vanilla extract, so I used some vanilla beans!)
a few drops of green food coloring, if desired

What you will need to do for the Cheesecake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Place a large roasting pan on the lower third rack of the oven. Place a pot of water on the stove to boil. 
Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom. Wrap a double layer of heavy duty foil around the bottom and up the sides of the pan (you want to seal it so the water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the pan).

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to blend the cream cheese until it is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes.

 Mix in the sugar and salt and blend for 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all is mixed in. Add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Finally, mix in the sour cream, whipping cream and vanilla (and food color, if using). Mix until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Set the pan into the roasting pan in the pre-heated oven. Carefully pour the hot water from your kettle into the roasting pan.

Pour enough water so that there is about an inch of water coming up the foil along the sides of the cheesecake pan.
(Mine has black spots because I put in vanilla beans and they didn't all mash out correctly, so my cheesecake was more a vanilla bean cheesecake, it was delish and I recommend adding vanilla beans)
Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. It should be set to the touch and not jiggly. Remove the cheesecake from the roasting pan and let it cool on a wire rack for at least an hour. When it has cooled, place the pan into the freezer and let the cheesecake freeze completely (4 to 5 hours or overnight).

What you need for the Green Velvet Cake:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1-ounce bottle) green food coloring

What you need to do for the Green Velvet Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 9-inch round pans with nonstick spray and line each pan with a round of parchment paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt. In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar together and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda and stir to dissolve. Add the vinegar to the bowl, along with the buttermilk and food coloring. Beat on medium-low speed for 1 minute, until blended. Add the dry ingredients and increase speed to medium-high, scraping down the sides of the bowl while mixing, for 2 additional minutes.
(Or do what I did: Mix dry wet ingredients first then mix in dry ingredients with my mixer.)

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Let the cakes cool for 20 minutes.

Run a knife along the edge of the pans, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely.

What you need for the Frosting:
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
One 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
1 cup powdered sugar
a few drops of green food coloring, if desired

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine the cream cheese and butter and beat until creamy and smooth. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until smooth. Add in the powdered sugar (and food color, if using) and continue to beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until all of the ingredients are mixed in and the frosting is smooth and spreadable. Keep frosting in fridge until you are ready to use it.

Assembling the cake:
 Place one cake layer into the center of a cake plate or platter. Remove the cheesecake from the freezer, take off the sides of the pan, and slide a knife under the parchment to remove the cheesecake from the pan. Peel off the parchment.
I added a little bit of frosting between the bottom layer of cake and the cheesecake just so there was no sliding.
Trim the cheesecake, as needed to match the size of your cake layers.
Place the cheesecake layer on top of the first cake layer. Add more frosting on top of cheesecake. Place the second cake layer on top of the cheesecake.

If you would like to know how to spread your frosting, refer to HERE.   Decorate, as desired.

Keep it stored in the refrigerator. It also freezes perfectly. Freeze it as is, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer until it is needed. Leftover slices may also be wrapped and frozen.

This recipe is linked to THESE awesome blog hops!

Substitutions for Common Baking Ingredients

Have you ever gotten everything ready to bake or cook something, and sometimes you may have even started mixing it all together and the recipe says the one thing you just ran out of yesterday. It's frustrating. You're elbow deep in batter and you don't want to go to the store to get 1 thing! In my case, my husband takes the car for the day, so I can't go anywhere. I can wait for Joe to come home and I'll ask him on the way home to grab whatever, but that's a long time from now! So, not only can this be a reference for you but mostly me, so I can remember from now on!

Allspice – 1 teaspoon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves.
Baking Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • ·         1/3 tsp. baking soda plus 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ·         1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 cup yogurt or buttermilk (decrease liquid in recipe by 1/2 cup)
Bread Crumbs (Dry) – 1 cup
  • ·         3 slices of bread, crumbled.
Brown sugar, packed, 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup granulated sugar mixed with 2 Tbsp molasses or dark corn syrup
Butter – 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup of regular margarine
  • ·         1 cup of vegetable shortening (for baking)
  • ·         1 cup of oil (but only if melted butter is called for)
Buttermilk – 1 cup
  • ·         1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar plus enough regular milk to make 1 cup (let sit for 5 minutes)
  • ·         1 cup Plain Yogurt
  • ·         Semisweet baking, 1 oz
o    1 oz unsweetened baking chocolate plus 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ·         Semisweet chips, 1 cup
o    6 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • ·         Unsweetened baking, 1 oz,
o    3 Tbsp baking cocoa plus 1 Tbsp vegetable oil or melted shortening or margarine

Cream / Half and Half – 1 cup
  • ·         7/8th of a cup of whole milk plus 1/2 tablespoon of butter
  • ·         3 tablespoons of oil, plus enough milk for 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup of evaporated milk
Cocoa – 1/4th cup
  • ·         1 ounce (square) chocolate (decrease butter/oil in recipe by 1/2 a tablespoon)
Condensed Milk – 1 cup
  • ·         Heat 1/3 cup of evaporated milk, 3/4 cup of sugar, and 2 tablespoons of butter until dissolved.
Cornstarch (for thickening) – 1 tablespoon
  • ·         2 tablespoons of flour (must cook for at least 3 minutes longer to thicken)
  • ·         4 tsp quick-cooking tapioca
Corn syrup
  • ·         Light, 1 cup
o    1 cup granulated sugar plus 1/4 cup water
  • ·         Dark, 1 cup
o    1 cup light corn syrup; 3/4 cup light corn syrup plus 1/4 cup molasses; 1 cup maple-flavored syrup

Egg – 1 whole egg
  • ·         1/4th cup of egg beaters
  • ·         2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (for baking batters only)
  • ·         1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds and 3 tablespoons water (or other liquid). Stirred until gelatinous. 
  • ·         1 tsp of baking powder and 3 tbsp of natural applesauce, mixed
Flour (All-Purpose) – 1 cup
  • ·         1/2 cup whole wheat flour plus 1/2 cup of all purpose flour (don’t substitute more than 1/2 the flour)
  • ·         All-purpose, 1 cup
o    1 cup and 2 Tbsp Cake Flour
  • ·         Cake, 1 cup
o    1 cup minus 2 Tbsp All Purpose
  • ·         Self Rising, 1 cup
o    1 cup All Purpose flour plus 1 ½ baking powder and ½ tsp salt
  • ·         The following alternatives require more leavening, so add 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of flour.  Also recommended, use buttermilk and 1/2 a teaspoon of baking soda instead of milk to decrease heaviness.
o    3/4 cup rice flour
o    1 1/2 cups of oat flour
o    1 1/4 cups of rye flour
o    5/8 cup of potato starch flour
o    1 cup rolled oats
o    1 cup fine cornmeal

Lemon Juice, fresh, 1 Tbsp
  • ·         1 Tbsp bottled lemon juice
  • ·         1 Tbsp White Vinegar
Lemon Peel, grated, 1 tsp
  • ·         1 tsp dried lemon peel
Milk, 1 cup
  • ·         ½ evaporated milk plus ½ cup water
  • ·         Nonfat dry milk prepared as directed on package
  • Plain Yogurt – 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup buttermilk
  • ·         1 cup cottage cheese (blended smooth)
  • ·         1 cup sour cream
Pumpkin or Apple Pie Spice, 1 tsp
  • ·         Mix ½ tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground allspice and 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Sour Cream, 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup plain yogurt
Sugar (Powdered) – 1 cup
  • ·         3/4 cup of granulated sugar
Sugar (White) – 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
  • ·         1 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar (not for baking)
  • ·         3/4 cup maple syrup (reduce liquid in recipe by 3 tablespoons)
Vegetable or Canola Oil: 
  • ·         Melted shortening 
  • Melted Butter
  • Coconut Oil
  • Apple sauce (More healthy option as well!) 
Vanilla Extract
  • Vanilla beans
  • Almond extract
  • Vanilla vodka, rum or brandy
Whole Milk – 1 cup
  • ·         1 cup buttermilk plus 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (if baking, reduce baking powder by 2 teaspoons)
  • ·         1/4 cup nonfat dry milk , 7/8 cup of water, and 2 teaspoons of butter
Yeast, regular or quick active dry, 1 pkg
  • ·         2 ¼ tsp regular or quick active dry
  • ·         1 package compressed cake yeast

Betty Crocker

Gooey Chocolate Mug Cake

Am I the only one who doesn't know about mug cakes???
I think I am.
I am fascinated

Sometimes, I just want a treat. Just for myself. But I don't want to make it.
I don't want to take out my mixer, bring out all the ingredients, mix them all up, making a mess, pre-heating the oven, waiting for 30 minutes or however long, letting it cool, decorating it, making it all pretty and blog worthy, to then eat it. 
Sometimes I just want a gooey delicious chocolate fudge brownie with decadent truffles and hot fudge sauce all over it to magically pop up on my counter. That's the dream, isn't it ladies?

Well, BEHOLD! Mug cake!
I seriously just whipped this together!
All I dirtied was the mug, whisk, 1/4 cup and a tbsp.
No joke....

What you will need for this revolutionary recipe:
a Microwavable Mug
1 Egg
1/4 Powdered Sugar
1-2 tbsp cocoa (depends on how chocolatey you want it)


What you need to do:
ya know what? I'm not even going to tell you what to do here. I'll let the pictures say it all. 

(Microwave 1 to 2 minutes)

I added peanut butter chips, jimmies, whipped cream! 
Next time I think I'll add some dove chocolate's in the mix for a nice surprise! 

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