Oooey Gooey Sinful Caramel Pie

This pie indulged my sweet tooth, and my highly closeted rebel nature. You see, this recipe makes dulce de leche out of sweetened condensed milk. And does so by boiling the cans. Yes. Boiling them. If you are looking to add a little danger to your life, this is the way to do it. I’ve been told the cans can explode, spreading thick gooey sticky caramel milk all over your kitchen. I think some cans even explicitly warn you not to boil them due to the risk of explosion. Sounds exciting right? Pretty sure it’s made up danger though. No eruptions for me, and in all the years my grandmother made a thick, milk-based caramel sauce out of canned sweetened condensed milk, I don’t recall it ever happening to her either. I did have a little excitement while baking this pie. Enough to completely derail my day and prove that you really cannot mess up a pie this easy. More on that later.

Oooey Gooey Sinful Caramel Pie - Bakerlady

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Ghirardellis Caramel S’mores

No, this isn’t a “real” recipe. Just something I want to share with you all since campfire season is upon us. And that means kicking back listening to the crackle of wood burning and being mesmerized by logs turning to coals. I have to give a shout out to my amazing father. The beautiful stone fire pit you see in the background? Yeah, he built it.  He threw it together this afternoon for my mom so all us kids could come over for a campfire this evening. I’m not kidding. He’s so awesome.

When the embers are just perfect, it is time to make s’mores. Classic campfire food. Did you know s’mores are not required to have plain chocolate on them. No, there’s a world of other possibilities for making gooey, melty marshmallow goodness.

My favorite is using Ghirardellis caramel squares instead of regular old Hershey bars. First of all, it’s better chocolate. Second, it’s filled with gorgeous oozing caramel. It is amazing. Try it at your next campfire. You’ll never go back! Do you have a go-to chocolate replacement in your s’mores?

Ghirardellis Caramel S’mores

Graham Crackers
Ghirardellis Caramel Squares

First, you take the graham. You put the chocolate (caramel square) on the graham. Then, you toast the mallow. Onto the chocolate it goes, top with another graham and mmmmmmmmm, enjoy.

M&M’s® Rolo® Pretzel Bites

Looking for a fabulous, easy treat? How about a little caramelly goodness sandwiched between rich chocolate and a little salty crunch? I’ve got you covered with these rolo pretzel bites. They whip up in just minutes and are perfect for munching during a movie, long car ride or on a weekend getaway. They are also HIGHLY addictive. I’d recommend making a double batch. I made the epic mistake of bringing just a single batch to a family camping trip and they were devoured the first evening. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many I shoved in my face. I could not stop. They were just glorious.

Simply top waffle pretzels with an unwrapped Rolo candy. I used slave labor and had my kids unwrap all the candies. They love helping me.

Bake for a couple of minutes and then press a peanut M&M into the Rolo – smooshing it down into the pretzel. You could use a regular M&M, but I like the peanut crunch on top.

This recipe is proof that if Mars & Hershey combined, they could take over the world. You won’t be able to stop eating these.

There are lots of combinations you could do with these little bites. During the holidays, use just red/green M&Ms. You could use Hershey’s kisses or hugs instead of Rolos (but why on earth would you want to remove the caramel from this recipe?). All you peanut butter/chocolate combo folks could press a peanut butter M&M on top to get your fix. Personally, I think these are perfection just as they are. Gooey caramel, salty pretzel and just the right amount of chocolate with a peanut crunch. Oh. Baby.

M&M’s® Rolo® Pretzel Bites
makes about 50

1 bag Rolo candies
50 waffle pretzels
50 peanut M&M’s

On a large parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread out pretzels in a single layer. Unwrap Rolo candies and place one on top of each pretzel.
Bake at 275° F for 2-3 minutes until Rolo candies are soft.
Remove from oven and quickly press one M&M into each Rolo.
Allow to cool completely.


This is one of those desserts that grabs you by the taste buds and screams “I AM AWESOME!!”. It is absolutely gorgeous, way easier than it looks and tastes beyond incredible. Sometimes baked goods go past the sum of their parts. This is one of those times. There’s rich chocolate cake, creamy light flan and decadent Mexican caramel. All together it is a show stopping, taste explosion that you will fall in love with upon first bite. Actually, I loved it as soon as it came out of the pan all dripping with golden sweet caramel. It’s also a magical cake. The layers invert as it’s cooking – I don’t know how, probably something to do with how dense each one is – but it’s really cool to see happen. Truly remarkable.

The caramel in this dessert is a specific kind of Mexican caramel called cajeta. I’d never heard of it before, but had no trouble finding it at my local grocery store. It is the devil. By that, I mean it’s superbly good. Thick and creamy and just delicious. It’s really not fair to even compare with any other caramel topping. So, get this if you can find it!

You pour the caramel into the bottom of a greased bundt pan.

Then, you make a devils food cake batter (from a box!) and pour the batter on top of the caramel.

Blend up your flan ingredients and pour (carefully) over the chocolate cake batter.

I say carefully because your bundt pan will be very, very full.  To the brim full.

Cover tightly with foil. Super tightly. I used several pieces of foil. And place bundt pan in a large roasting pan. Then, fill roasting pan with hot water to a depth of 2 inches. This was a lot more water than I thought. I’m glad I measured.

Super slowly, put your pan in the oven and cook for two hours. Yes, it’s a long time – but it is so worth it. I promise. Allow to cool slightly then remove the foil. First thing you’ll notice is that the cake is now on top instead of the flan on top (and that it looks a little strange from cooking right up against the foil). Second thing (if you’re me) that some of the cake spilled into the hole in your bundt pan. Not to worry! Taste that part!

Invert the pan onto a serving platter, give it a little shake and (deep breath) remove the bundt pan. I was actually nervous during this step. Felt like I was meeting a boyfriend’s parents or something. It was a little exhilarating.

The payoff, rich caramel cascading down perfectly formed flan and puddling around sweet-scented chocolate cake. Oh. Baby.

Be still my heart. That is one gorgeous dessert.

It tastes even better than it looks. Perfectly balanced, not too sweet, delicate textures and just delicious. Forgive the sub-par pic of the interior. I was so stinkin excited to eat this, I almost forgot to even take one. We also had guests over for dinner, so I was serving and just trying to get one halfway decent shot before we could all dig in. I’m including it anyway because I wanted you all to see the layers.


1 (18 ounce) box chocolate devil’s food cake mix
1 1/2 cups water (amount per cake mix directions)
1/2 cup oil (amount per cake mix directions)
3 eggs (amount per cake mix directions)
1 (11 ounce) jar cajeta caramel topping or 1 (11 ounce) jar caramel topping
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup fresh milk
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 eggs


Heat oven to 350ºF.

Spray a large 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick coating.

Soften the cajeta in the jar in the microwave and pour into the prepared pan.

Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan over the cajeta.

To make the flan: Pour condensed, evaporated and fresh milks into a blender with the cream cheese, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.

Pour the flan mixture very slowly over the cake batter.

Spray aluminum foil with non-stick spray (like Pam);.

cover the pan TIGHTLY with aluminum foil.(Covering tightly is very important.)

Set the Bundt pan into a large pan and set on the oven rack and slide into the oven.

Carefully pour hot water into the larger pan to a depth of 2 inches (The Bundt pan will be sitting in 2 inches of water).

Bake cake for 2 hours (test); do not uncover during this time.

After two hours, remove cake from water and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Peel off the aluminum foil.

Invert cake onto a large plate with rim.

The cajeta will drip down the sides of the cake.

Cool completely then refrigerate. Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: Even though the flan is poured on top of the cake batter, it will sink to the bottom of the pan.

Rolo Cake Bars

My favorite combination is caramel and chocolate. Rich sweet chocolate and gooey caramel is pretty darn close to a slice of heaven in my book.  When I saw this recipe for Rolo Cake Bars, I knew there was a batch in my very near future. But, I couldn’t just make a pan of them to have around given my addiction to all things caramel and chocolate. Lucky for me, I had some trees removed today and had three burly lumberjack type men around to help me plow thru these bars.

This recipe has one tricky part. It comes when you are at the store (or in your pantry) getting your ingredients. All cake mixes are not the same. I know these look like they’d both work, but they wont.

Check the ounces on the box. You want the big one. 18.25oz. Accept no other.

The dry mix, melted butter and evaporated milk get combined together and half is pressed into a pan. My dough was very sticky so I used an offset spatula to get it mostly flattened into the pan. Don’t worry if your dough isn’t completely firm. They still bake up beautifully.

While the crust cooks up a bit – we get to hang with some Rolos.

Mmmmmm. Caramel. Cut them in half.

When the crust comes out of the oven, place the Rolos caramel side down on top. Can I just say that the smell of warm cake batter hitting the chocolate was almost too much for me. I was tempted to just scoop it out of the pan and shovel it into my mouth.

Then dollup the remaining batter on top.

Bake until golden. Attempt to keep your mitts off it and let it cool. Then cut into squares.

Sweet light cake mixed with decadent rich caramel and chocolate. Oh baby.

Seriously. Oozing Rolo goodness. A riot of amazingness.

I don’t think four ingredients could get better than this.

Rolo Cake Bars
adapted from Cookies and Cups

  • 1 box (18.25 oz) yellow, vanilla or white cake mix, dry
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 40 Rolo Candies, unwrapped and cut in half

How to Make

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  3. With your mixer, beat cake mix, evaporated milk and butter until combined. Mixture will be thick and sticky.
  4. Divide batter in half and press 1 half into the bottom of the pan.
  5. Bake until just set, approximately 8-9 minutes.
  6. Remove base from oven and place Rolo candies, caramel-side down on top.
  7. Drop remaining batter on top of Rolos in teaspoon sized amounts.
  8. Bake for 24-26 minutes longer until top begins to golden.
  9. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Salted Caramels

Hello. My name is Tonya. I’m a Pinterest addict. I blame my cousin Shannon for getting me hooked. She is pure evil. Perhaps some of you have had a similar experience. One of your friends suddenly has all kinds of interesting crafts, baked goods and ideas for fun activities for children. You make the grave mistake of asking where these ideas magically materialized from and then you hear a word. Just one. Pinterest. And that one word suddenly transforms into a time-sucking overwhelming need in your life. If you are reading this wondering how to pronounce this word you’ve never seen before. Run away. Run away from your computer right now. Save yourself while you still can. It is too late for me. But you may still be able to escape. Oh no. You’re typing it into your search engine now…aren’t you. I’m so sorry. Tell your husband and children I’m sorry too. They’ll come looking for you in a couple days and find you, eyes glazed over, index finger cramping from all the mouse-clicking – but with 1000 new ideas for dinner, desserts, home decor and party ideas. I have become a woman obsessed. You see, I have no good ideas on my own. But I’m very very good at stealing them from other people. Pinterest has given me unlimited access to the genius of others. It’s a sickness. That I love. [Read more…]

Samoas Bars

Girl Scouts, and their cookies are evil. Little girls in little outfits, their adorable patches and vests and all those delightful rectangular boxes of deliciousness. Eager smiles and bright eyes saying “Would you like to buy some cookies?”. I managed to avoid them this year. I hid my face, pretended to be deaf, did all I could to find an entrance not blocked by a table loaded with treats. Why did I do that? Now they are all gone. And I don’t have any boxes stashed in my freezer. Woe is me! Whatever will I do? (breathe Tonya, just breathe) Ok. I found this idea for homemade Samoas Bars and knew I’d found a perfect solution. Shortbread base, topped with caramel coconut and a drizzle of chocolate. All the awesomeness of my favorite Girl Scout treat, and from my own oven. Hooray! Oh joy! Rapture! [Read more…]


Turtles (so named because of their cute turtle shape) are delicious. You can buy a box of them for about $20. Or, you can make them yourself for WAY less without much effort at all. Today I used up the remainder of a bag of caramels, and only had pecan pieces (which I just made little piles of and put the caramel on top) so this batch does not totally look like turtles…but you get the idea.  [Read more…]

Chocolate Drizzled PayDay® Cookies

Finally! My husband (notorious for his ability to not eat sweets) was salivating over these as they cooled on the counter. He was practically begging me for a taste. And when at last I gave him a cookie to try, he stood silently as he ate. When he was finished, he said these magical words. “That might just be the perfect cookie.” Are you kidding me?! Woo-hoo!

I call these PayDay® Cookies because they combine all the great flavors of that candy bar. These are slightly less sweet, and less salty than the inspiration though. A perfect blend of sweet and salty, gooey-ness and crunch. Oh they are awesome! And gorgeous. And dee-licious. [Read more…]

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