Winners Announcement

It’s an exciting day at The Balancing Act! Today we are announcing our winners for our Tales of Fall Treats Recipe Contest and our Next Celebrity Chef Video contest in partnership with Kraft’s Bakers Chocolate. We were amazed by the number of entries and the number of votes we received. Thank you so much for all of your support as we tried something new. As you will see, it the contest was very close. Drum roll please…the winners are…

Tales of Fall Treats Recipe Contest

Caramel Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

Caramel Applesauce Cake Caramel Frosting

Submitted by: Nadine Mesch

Total votes: 260

Winner of $1000 Fall Bash from Kraft Baker’s Chocolate


  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk


1 cup butter, softened

  • 1 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 2 TBSP milk

Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. In a second large bowl, beat sugar and oil together until well combined, approximately 1 minute. Add applesauce, caramel and vanilla, beat for 30 seconds. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add flour mixture, alternating with the buttermilk: continue to beat until well combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes, then turn cakes out onto a cooking rack; allow cool completely. Frosting: In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar, ice cream topping and milk; beat to desired consistency. Frost. *As soon as the leaves begin to fall my family requests this special favorite”

Nadine shared this amazing story about why this recipe is so important to her family.

” My youngest daughter always requests the Caramel Applesauce Cake with Caramel Frosting for her birthday. The cake is moist and flavorful. The applesauce, spices and caramel sauce just makes this cake the epitome of comfort food. For years I frosted it with a cream cheese frosting. and that is always a good accompaniment to an apple cake. One day, I decided to add some of the caramel sauce to the frosting. It was fantastic!! It added creaminess and actually decreased the sweetness of the frosting.

Now that some of our children have moved away, when they come home, one will always…. say, “Well mom, I know its not Fall but can we make that caramel applesauce cake?” And of course, I make it :)”

Banana S’Mores Cupcake

Submitted by: Wendy Rusch

Total votes: 246

Winner of $500 Fall Bash from Kraft Baker’s Chocolate



  • 1 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 16 oz or approx 12 regular Hersey bars, chopped

Graham Crust

  • 1 1/2 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/2 c butter, melted


  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 c bananas, mashed with 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Marshmallow Frosting

  • 7 oz marshmallow cream
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 c powdered sugar
  • 2-3 T cream

Place chocolate bar pieces into a medium glass or steel bowl. Warm cream in microwave until it starts to bubble around the edges, remove from microwave and pour over chocolate bar pieces. Let stand 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and creamy, be patient, it will come together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat oven to 350. Line cupcake pans with liners 20-24. Combine crumbs, 3T sugar and melted butter. Put 1 heaping tablespoon of crumbs into each liner and press down with narrow glass bottom or your fingers. Set aside. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix together soft butter, bananas, eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until just mixed. Being careful to not over mix. Divide evenly over pressed crumbs. Fill 1/2 full. Bake 17-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes then remove to racks to cool completely.

When cakes are cooled, remove middles with apple corer or paring knife. Stir cooled chocolate ganache, fill cupcakes. Too thick warm in microwave at 15 second intervals until soft enough to fill cupcakes. Mix together marshmallow cream and butter until smooth, add in powdered sugar and 1 T cream at a time, until desired consistency is achieved. Use more powdered sugar to thicken if needed. Pipe or spread onto cupcakes, then drizzle with chocolate ganache and sprinkle with graham crumbs, if desired.

Wendy shared this story of why this recipe is important to her family.

I love creating new and fun recipes, especially for cupcakes!!! It started when I was planning cupcakes for my son’s wedding, then my mind just blossomed into all kinds of creative flavors. One day while trying to create MY version of a s’more cupcake, I noticed some bananas up to no good, one thing lead to another, and BOOM, the The Banana S’More cupcake was born. Friends and family love it and it soon became my most requested cupcake!!! It will be your favorite too!!! :o)

Triple Chocolate Orange Ganache Cake

Submitted by: Angela Gray

Total votes: 213

Winner of $250 Fall Bash from Kraft Baker’s Chocolate


  • 1 c cocoa, unsweetened
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 1 c butter or margarine, softened
  • 2 1/2 c sugar
  • 4 lg eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder *not a typo, just 1/2 tsp.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 9 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 Tbsp grand marnier
  • 2 tsp grated orange zest

Satiny Chocolate Frosting

  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 2 1/2 c powdered sugar

Cake Garnish

  • 1 bag of truffles, milk chocolate and white chocolate
  • 1 lg jar of chocolate jimmies/chocolate sprinkles

Combine chips, milk and butter in a LARGE sauce pan, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; blend in powdered sugar. Set pan into ice bath; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until frosting is fluffy and holds it shape. It should make a peak with a spoon and hold it. *remove from ice bath or it will continue to harden. Remove frozen layers from freezer and put on a platter lined with wax paper strips. Just cut them and slide them slightly under cake, they will catch all the mess and when you gently pull them out your platter will be all clean and pretty. Spoon about a 3/4 C of the ganache filling on your first cake layer and repeat until you reach your third layer. *DO NOT ice the top layer ! * Frost the top with the SATINY CHOCOLATE FROSTING first then start on the sides. Smooth top as much as possible with a flat knife dipped in hot water. Take your Chocolate Jimmies (chocolate sprinkles) and gently take your hand and press them up the sides only .Continue until you have went all the way around. GENTLY remove the wax paper strips and discard. Put remaining frosting into a piping bag and pipe 12 medium size swirls onto top of cake. I used a no#21 tip. *space them out before you start piping to make sure you get 12 and they are even. Top each swirl with a milk chocolate truffle and a white chocolate truffle, alternate them. If the bottom of your cake is messy where you pulled out the paper you may use the same tip and pipe a border around the base of the cake.

Angela shared this story of why this recipe is important to her family.

“This cake was invented for my Son James’ Birthday; he is a bona fide chocoholic. He always has been! Even as a toddler he craved chocolate and I would find candy bar wrappers stuck down in the couch and in his mattress. One of his favorites at an early age was chocolate covered coffee beans from William and Sonoma. So for his 14th Birthday I knew he would ask for chocolate but I asked him to come up with some flavors and ideas I could work with. The orange and chocolate combination is one of his favorite. So after pouring over recipe, frostings and decorations this is what I came up with. Several people even ask me where I bought his cake at! I love baking for my family, especially my son, he is a great kid and is always appreciative…especially if it is chocolate!”

Yum! These are three tasty desserts you can try at your next gathering. And now we move on to our quest to find the next Celebrity Chef and I think we found her! Join us in a round of applause for our Next Celebrity Chef Video Contest.

Next Celebrity Chef Video Contest

Mock Brownie Tiramisu

Submitted by: Claudia Lamascolo

Total votes: 101

Claudia will be featured in an upcoming segment of The Balancing Act!

And finally, let’s give a big congratulation for Claudia Lamascolo for winning with her Celebrity Chef Video. Stay tuned to The Balancing Act to see Claudia making her delectable dessert Mock Brownie Tiramisu on the show and get the recipe. Her video was engaging and shared how she makes this yummy treat for all to enjoy. It’s a quick and easy party treat that you are sure to enjoy. It’s also a great treat to make with the kids. Yes, it’s that easy!

Thank you to everyone who entered and voted! It was a fun contest and all of the entrants had great recipes to share. We hope you are enjoying the start of your fall season and will consider giving these recipes a whirl at your next gathering.


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