Brooke and I will be the first to admit that we are NOT bakers. We’d sooner point you to a cake recipe by Makinze or a muffin by Taylor Ann before recommending some sweet confection we made. However, in this episode of Grocery Showdown we wanted to take on a baking challenge: Who could make the best dessert from shopping at either ACME or Dollar General? Per usual, there are two ways to win:
Have the cheapest meal
Have the best-tasting meal
Or you can be an overachiever and do both!
Brooke has fond memories from shopping at Dollar General while on a budget in college, but it was I who was handed the popular discount store by the kitchen gods. Brooke was weirdly annoyed (?!) to be given ACME, a store without all the limitations that her last stores had, but she managed to overcome them. The rules for this dessert competition were as follows:
We have 90 minutes to make a dessert that serves four.
All spices, oils, and fats in the Delish Test Kitchen were free to use.
Whenever possible, we had to shop for and use store-brand items.
Brooke, in a surprise move, went OVER budget, spending just over $25, while I managed to keep it pretty tight at Dollar General, spending just over $15. Whose sweet masterpiece reigned supreme? Tune in above to find out. And if you want to learn how to make either of the recipes, you can find them below.
Brooke’s Acme Flourless Chocolate-Orange Cake With Almond Whipped Cream
Preheat oven to 375 F and spray a 9” springform pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Slice 1 stick of unsalted butter into cubes and add it to a microwave-safe bowl along with 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips. Microwave on high in 15-second intervals, stirring with a rubber spatula between each, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir 1 tsp of instant coffee granules with 1 tbsp of warm water until the granules are fully dissolved.
Add ¾ c sugar, ½ tsp kosher salt, instant coffee, and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Blend until smooth then add 3 large eggs, blending well after each addition. Stir in ½ c unsweetened cocoa powder. Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-28 minutes or until center set but still slightly jiggly.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1 c of heavy cream, 2 tbsp of granulated sugar. And 1 tsp of almond extract. Using a hand mixer on medium speed for a whisk, beat until stiff peaks soft peaks form. Lower speed to low and beat until desired texture for whipped cream is reached.
Add ⅓ of heavy cream to a small heat-proof bow. Heat in 15-second increments until hot but not boiling. Pour hot cream over ⅔ cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Stir in ¼ tsp of kosher salt and 1 tsp of orange zest.
Let cake cool for 10 minutes and pour ganache over the cake and top with orange segments and a pinch of flaky salt. Serve with almond whipped cream.
Justin’s Dollar General Zombie Easter Bunny Graveyard Cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF then grease and line a 9×13 baking dish with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together 1 cup water, ½ cup vegetable oil, 3 eggs, ½ cup chopped Easter Bunny pieces and 1 box of Betty Crocker Golden Cake Mix. Transfer to the oven and bake until a cake-tester or toothpick comes out clean from the center, 28 to 30 minutes.
Separate the cream and wafers from 1 Box (14.3-oz) CloverValley Chocolate Sandwich Creme Cookies into separate bowls by splitting the cookies and scraping the cream with a butter or paring knife. Add wafers to a food processor and pulse until you have a crumb like texture.
To the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with a hand mixer add 2 sticks of softened butter, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and a pinch of kosher salt. While beating the wet ingredients, gradually add 3 cups of CloverValley powdered sugar and ½ cup of cocoa powder until a frosting begins to form. Fold in ⅓ cup of the reserved cookie crumbs.
Add ½ cup of CloverValley powdered sugar to a small bowl and add 1 tablespoon of water or milk or enough until you have a thick syrup-like consistency. Add your desired red food dye until a bright red then set aside.
When the cake is baked, remove and allow to cool for 20 minutes. Top entirely with chocolate butter cream and then sprinkle over all of the cookie crumbs. Use the sandwich cookie creme to form tombstones and decorate the cake with them plus various Easter Bunny pieces, Raspberry Bunny Peeps (which you can optionally brulée with a blow torch) and sour gummy worms. Drizzle over your “blood” glaze and serve.
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