In a heavy pan add the water. Pour the sugar evenly over the top and place pan over medium heat swirling gently by the handle until the sugar dissolves and syrup is clear. Avoid letting the syrup boil until the sugar is completely dissolved.
When sugar is dissolved, increase the heat, cover tightly and boil for 2 minutes.
Uncover and continue to boil until it begins to darken around the edges. Gently swirl until the syrup turns deep amber.
Remove from heat and add the butter. Gently beat with a whisk until butter is incorporated.
Stir in heavy cream. If caramel sauce becomes lumpy set pan over low heat and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and pinch of salt.
Cover and refrigerate up to one month. (When re-heating you can add some water if it is too thick.)
Cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix well.
In a microwave safe bowl melt the chocolate and let cool slightly. Mix in the baking soda.
Remove 2/3 of the cookie dough to a floured surface. Blend the chocolate and soda mixture into the remaining 1/3 of the dough.
Roll out 1/2 of the light dough into a 16" x 4" strip. Shape 1/2 of the chocolate dough into a 16" long snake and place in the center of the light dough. Mold the light dough around the chocolate and wrap in foil. Repeat with the remaining dough and chill for 2 hours or up to 5 days.
Cut the dough into slices approximately 1/4" thick. Put two slices together (dampen the touching edges). Pinch the corners to create "ears". Place two chocolate chips in the center of the dark dough to create eyes and a whole cashew in the center for the beak.
Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes or until edges are very slightly browned. Check often. Cool completely and store in airtight container.
For the Cake:
Drain and rinse the cherry pie filling. Press the cherries between several layers of paper towels until very dry. Chop the cherries fine and measure out 1/2 cup. (can discard remaining pie filling cherries)
Gently fold the 1/2 cup chopped cherries and 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips into your prepared white cake batter.
Grease and flour 2-3 8 inch cake pans depending on how many layers you like. Divide batter among the pans. Bake on the middle rack of a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a pick comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out onto rack to cool completely.
For the Cherries:
Melt remaining 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips and butter in a bowl. Holding the stems of the maraschino cherries, partially dip them into the chocolate and place them on parchment lined plate. Refrigerate until hardened, at least 10 minutes.
For the Frosting:
Beat 5 drops (or more) red food coloring into your prepared frosting and blend until you have the desired color. Adding color can be optional.
Spread 3/4 cup icing on bottom layer. Repeat with the second layer. Top with final cake layer and frost top and sides with remaining buttercream. Decorate the top with the whipped cream and chocolate dipped cherries.
Beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl add the flour and salt and set aside
Add the eggs one at a time, alternating with the flour/salt mixture. mix well with each addition ending with flour. Then add the lemon, vanilla, almond extracts and the apricot nectar-mixing until blended. Fold in the lavender flowers by hand.
Pour batter into two well greased, small pudding molds (similar to a small bundt or angel food pan) or you can use an alternate container such as a ovenproof bowl or clean, new, flour pot. you may need to adjust the bake time if using a container without a hollow center like the molds)
Bake in a pre-heated oven set at 315 degrees for 1 hour and 20-30 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
Cool 15-20 minutes. Loosen edges of pan with a knife and turn out from pan and cool completely. This cake freezes wonderfully. You can ice it and serve immediately or wrap well and freeze for up to 6 months.
Cream the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the flour, eggs, vanilla, soda, quick oats and mix until blended. Spread 2/3 of mixture in the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan. Set aside.
In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips, condensed milk, 2T. butter and 2 t. vanilla until smooth. Pour chocolate mix over the base layer in the pan. Dot the top with the remaining 1/3 of the oatmeal mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden.
cream together the cream cheese & butter, add in the liquid flavors.
begin adding powdered sugar a cup at a time and milk if needed until you reach your desired thickness.
if you’re not piping cupcakes the icing may not need to be as thick. i actually used about 3-4 cups for this cake so i could make a thinner coating (and it is easier to spread on a full cake if it’s not too thick!)