What’s Cooking Behind the Scenes at the Pillsbury Bake-Off | The Daily Dish

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What’s Cooking Behind the Scenes at the Pillsbury Bake-Off

1 Comment | Written on March 15, 2012 at 5:00 am , by

Did you know in just a few short weeks one very lucky home cook will be a Millionaire?!  That’s right, the legendary Pillsbury Bake-Off is right around the corner!

I am thrilled to be traveling down to Orlando with Pillsbury to cover the contest again this year.  In fact, I will be a contributing writer to the “Behind the Scenes” blog on Pillsbury.com!

My first story was just posted yesterday.  Click on this link to read all about my unique family history with the Pillsbury Bake-Off:

Three Generations of Bake-Off Fun

That’s right!  My grandmother, my mother and I have all been finalists in this phenomenal cooking competition.  Stay tuned to Pillsbury.com for more of our posts leading up to the Bake-Off, as well as up to date information from the contestants and the winner!

In the meantime, I thought I would post the two recipes that took me to the Pillsbury Bake-Off years ago.  I competed with this first recipe when I was only 12 years old!  It is a light and fruity dessert, perfect to serve in Spring.  This recipe won $2,000 in the “desserts” category.

Raspberry-Filled Apricot Cake  (click here to view and print recipe)


1 Pkg  (1 Lb. 2.25-oz.)yellow Cake Mix, with pudding

1 1/3 cups Apricot Nectar

2 Eggs


1 cup Raspberry Spreadable Fruit or Jam


1 pkg (1-oz) Sugar-free Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

1/2 cup Skim or Low-fat Milk

2 Tbsp Apricot Nectar

1 (8-oz) Frozen Light Whipped Topping, thawed

3 Tbsp Coconut, toasted


Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease and flour two 9- or 8-inch round cake pans.

In large bowl, combine cake mix, 1-1/3 cup apricot nectar and eggs at low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes at high speed.

Pour into greased and floured pans.

Bake 350 F for 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Bake 8-inch pans 30 to 40 min.) Cool 15 minutes; remove from pans.  Cool completely.

To assemble cake, slice each cake layer in half horizontally to make 4 layers.

Place 1 cake layer cut side up on serving plate; spread with 1/3 cup spreadable fruit.

Repeat 2nd & 3rd layers with fruit.

Top with remaining cake layer.

In small bowl combine pudding mix, milk and 2 T apricot nectar; blend well.

Add thawed whip topping beat at low speed 2 minutes. Frost sides and top of cake.

Sprinkle top with toasted coconut.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Store in refrigerator. Tip: to toast coconut, spread on cookie sheet; bake at 350 for 7 to 8 min. or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

I attended the contest again in 2000 when I was in college.  I may not have walked away with the $1,000,000 prize, but my recipe did make it on the cover of the Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook!

Smoky Southwestern Shepard’s Pie  (click here to view and print recipe)  


1 1/2 lb Lean Ground Beef, such as ground round

1/2 cup Chopped Onion

2 cups Water

3 Tbsp Margarine or Butter

1/2  tsp Salt

3/4 cup Milk

2 cups Instant Mashed Potato Flakes

1 (4.5-oz.) Can Chopped Green Chilies

4 oz (1 Cup) Shredded Mexican-blend Cheese

1 (10-oz.) Can Enchilada Sauce

1 or 2 Canned Chipotle Chilies In Adobo Sauce, drained, seeded and chopped

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano Leaves

1 (11-oz.) Can Vacuum-packed Whole Kernel Corn With Red & Green Peppers, drained

1/8 tsp Paprika

1/3 cup sliced Green Onions

1 Small Tomato, cut into 6 wedges


Heat oven to 400 degrees. In large skillet, brown ground beef with onion over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, combine water, margarine and salt. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in milk and potato flakes. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in green chilies and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Drain beef mixture. Add enchilada sauce, chipotle chilies, cumin and oregano; mix well. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Spread beef mixture in ungreased shallow 2-quart casserole or baking dish. Top with corn. Spread potatoes evenly over corn. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 13 to 17 minutes or until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. To garnish, sprinkle with paprika and green onions; arrange tomato wedges in center of casserole.

One Response to “What’s Cooking Behind the Scenes at the Pillsbury Bake-Off”

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