German Chocolate Cake

Happy happy birthday Nathan.

Begrudgingly I agreed to make the german chocolate cake he requested. For some reason I thought it would be complicated. Somewhere in my brain I thought I didn’t like german chocolate cake.

I think what I didn’t like was an overly sweet coconut layer. Or maybe somehow I thought german chocolate cake was something else. Who knows. I’m an odd duck sometimes.

German chocolate cake!

But you know what I do like? (warning this is going to get sappy) My husband.

We have been together for over 10 years and married for 8 of those. It has been tough. It has been really hard at times. There have been days I would have put him on the street for free. But I am so incredibly thankful for him.

German chocolate cake!

So here are 31 things I love about him (he turned 31 by the way):

1. His smile

2. I really like his smile when he is looking at me

3. He has this awesome ability to just swoop in a do the dishes. Unrequested.

4. When he comes home with beer in hand. Particularly when it is from Oakshire and has a koozie

5. When Little wakes up at night he handles it 95% of the time

6. Mad wok cooking abilities

7. The way my head fits on his shoulder when he hugs me

8. He’s a rockstar dad

9. I know he does things just because it makes me happy (vacuuming of late)

10. His sweet texts mid day

11. So supportive of my adventures and undertakings

12. Never complains about what’s for dinner

13. Appreciates all that I do for him and tells me as often as he remembers

14. Yard work.

15. Adores our kitties

16. Isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong (most days)

17. He truly enjoys hanging out with Little

18. The man has a complete and utter lack of fear of failure.

19. He designed this gorgeous website

20. And maintains it for me

21. He will happily go out of his way to do things for his friends

22. It doesn’t bother him that I am a Duck football nut. He is right there with me.

23. Challah bread. He rocks it.

24. He will happily read to Little (swoon)

25. Genuinely wants to see me be happy and successful

26. He’s so darn flexible (unlike me)

27. Forever learning. If he isn’t learning he gets restless.

28. Total nerd. Shamelessly so.

29. Can put down cake or donuts or really anything sweet like it is going out of style

30. Juicing. He has introduced me to the wonderful world of juicing.

31. He loves me. Incredibly much.

German chocolate cake!

One year ago today: Chili Relleno Casserole

German Chocolate Cake (easily serves 12-16)
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

3 round chocolate cakes (I used this recipe bake for 30-40 min for 9 in round cakes)

For the Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the Rum Syrup:
2/3 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons dark rum

For the Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Make the Filling: Stir together the heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, salt, pecans and coconut in a large bowl and set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170 degrees F.). Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

Make the Rum Syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the Chocolate Icing: Place the chopped chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Once the filling and icing are both cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Assemble the Cake: Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush the top of the cake layer with the rum syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, brushing the top of each cake layer with the rum syrup, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

German chocolate cake!

Happy Birthday 2.0

Can I just say 1 to 2 was WAY more fun than newborn to 1.

1 to 2 brought us a baby that finally started sleeping through the night (at 22 months). He has learned oh so many words. Do you know he doesn’t say yes? He says mmm hmmm. It is precious. He is the pickiest eater ever and it is moment by moment. He loves trains (hence the birthday party theme) or really any large moving vehicle.

Happy birthday my not so little

He can sometimes be reasoned with and sometimes he melts into a screaming puddle of toddler. Which was what happened when I showed him his cake before the party. Nathan had to take him out of the house because he didn’t understand why he couldn’t have his happy birthday cake NOW. He may or may not have finally been appeased with a cake pop from Starbucks. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.

It was a lovely party. It is amazing how much he has grown this past year. It is amazing how much WE have grown this past year. His first birthday was filled with family and friends we knew before Little was born. We were so blessed. This year his birthday was full of toddlers and friends I have been blessed with since he was born. I was in tears thinking about my lovely mama tribe and feeling so terribly loved.

Happy birthday my not so little

I couldn’t be happier.

It was a lovely party. Served pork verde tacos (pork shoulder, green salsa, oven at 300 for 3 hrs), homemade refried beans, spanish rice (made by my mom), all the taco fixings, and of course birthday cake.

Happy birthday my not so little

There was a ridiculous cardboard train too.

Happy birthday my not so little

And puddle splashing. We were supposed to be outside but it poured. God bless Oregon the sun did make an appearance and well… when you are nearly two you can splash in puddle barefoot.

Little didn’t pass out till nearly 9 (usual bedtime is 7). Too much excitement and cake.

Now if only 2 to 3 can be half as wonderful as 1 to 2 we will be more blessed than we can ever imagine.

Happy birthday my not so little

One year ago today:  A collection of party recipes and a very happy birthday

 

 

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

I have set fruit on fire before. Remember peaches foster?

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

(And in case you are wondering this flame was produced in my mother’s kitchen. Yes she was concerned.)

I honestly believe that any soft fruit could be used in this type of application. Pears are one I haven’t tried yet but I think would be spectacular. Plums would also probably be tasty. Apples maybe if they were sliced thin enough and cooked long enough.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

All in all though we are talking about fruit cooked in butter, rum, and brown sugar.  Then set on fire. What is not to love?

When perusing my cookbooks for a cake to make my brother in law for his birthday we stumbled on a recipe for a banana foster cheesecake. Um. Yes please.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

The recipe was a bit extravagant and I finally decided to look for another one when it called for cooking the cheesecake in a water bath. I just don’t have the patience for that. Besides the very idea totally stressed me out. I quickly went on the hunt for another recipe and was rewarded with this incredibly simple one.

In all reality I was already stressed out because we are in the height of canning season. Tuna, tomato sauce, salsa, and peaches have all been processed this past week and put up for the winter. I love getting it all done but it truly makes me a crazy person at times. Mercifully it is done and now all I have left is apple sauce and maybe grape jelly.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

So with the week I was already spending in the kitchen adding a daunting cheesecake recipe made me cranky. But you know what?  After making this I wondered why DON’T I make cheesecake more often? I keep thinking it is hard and every time I make it I am reminded that it is in fact pretty easy. I am not an expert at it by any means but it is delicious and no one who ate it complained.

So happy happy birthday Ryan. I am glad you picked this dessert and I am glad I stuck with it despite the crazy week.

And in case of the apocalypse come to my house. We are well stocked.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Bananas Foster Cheesecake (serves 10-12 easily)
Adapted from Will Cook for Smiles

For Crust:
1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
5 tbs butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla

For Cheesecake:
2 medium bananas, sliced
4 tbs butter
3 tbs dark brown sugar
4 tbs light rum
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 8-oz cream cheese bricks
1/2 cup of light brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup of bananas foster sauce form above
2 tbs sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbs corn starch

For Topping:
3 medium bananas, sliced in 8
3 tbs butter
2 tbs dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
3 tbs light rum

Grease a 9-inch spring form, set aside. Preheat the oven to 325.
For crust: Crush the graham crackers to fine crumbs. A bottom of a glass works great. Mix in the sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Stir very well. Press graham crackers into the pan, evenly, all over the bottom and about half way up the side. Set Aside
In a medium pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat, add sugar and cinnamon and stir well. Add banana slices and saute for about a minute. Pouring carefully, add the rum. The alcohol may ignite on its own, but if it does not then use a long match or lighter to ignite it. Cook until flame dies out. Take out the bananas and layer them evenly over the crust. Set the juice aside to cool down.
For Cheesecake
Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at the time, beating after each addition. Add the corn starch, vanilla extract, sour cream, and the bananas foster sauce. Make sure that all ingredients are well combined. Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan with crust and bananas. Bake for 50-55 minutes. Cool completely.
For Topping:
In a medium pan, melt 3 tablespoons of butter on medium-high heat, add 2 tbs dark brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon and stir well. Add banana pieces and saute for about a minute. Pouring carefully, add the rum. The alcohol may ignite on its own, but if it does not then use a long match or lighter to ignite it. Cook until flame dies out. Top the cooled cheesecake with the warm topping. Serve immediately.

Bananas Foster Cheesecake

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting

This post is a little late in coming. I actually made this cake middle of last month.

I am not quite sure why it got bumped till now. Probably I feel like I hit on a secret and I am not really willing to share it.

Chocolate mint chip icing

It is no secret that I love frosting. Remember this delicious lemon frosting I declared one of the best? And this coffee frosting I absolutely fell head over heels for? And my absolutely favorite chocolate frosting? Yeah I love the stuff. Particularly the really good stuff.

Oh lets not forget the strawberry swiss meringue buttercream. Wow.

This cake was for my mom’s birthday and she requested either a super lemony cake or chocolate. I pondered that for a couple of days and finally remembered she loves chocolate and mint. I have such an awesome mama. She has such lovely taste in all things- food especially.

Chocolate mint chip icing

After perusing mint frosting recipes for longer than most people read the news each day I finally settled on this recipe. Boy oh boy was I not disappointed. This is one of those beautifully fluffy melt in your mouth frostings. Full of flavor and the chocolate chips…. oh the chocolate chips totally elevate if from spectacular to maybe I shouldn’t let this secret out frosting.

But I love you all. So here it. I am going to hang on to this frosting as a base since all you do is all chocolate shavings and some mint flavoring. It would be just as easy to add vanilla instead. Leave in the chocolate. Trust me on this. It is the best part.

Chocolate mint chip icing

Ps. Never grated chocolate before? Just do it. I was scared the first time I tried but it really works easily! Make sure you have a large hole grater and just go for it. Put it through a sieve letting the dust fall through and using the larger grated pieces. Careful not to use your hands because it will nearly instantly melt. Then you get to lick it off which isn’t the world’s worst problem but leaves you without chocolate shavings.

Chocolate mint chip icing

One year ago today: Apple Crisp

Chocolate Chip Mint Frosting  (double recipe for one two layer cake)
From Cooking Classy

3/4 cup butter, partially softened
1 1/2 tsp mint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp heavy cream
Green food coloring if desired
1/2 cup chocolate shavings (see ps. above)

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, using the paddle attachment whip butter on medium high speed until nearly white and very fluffy, about 7 – 8 minutes, frequently scrapping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Blend in mint extract and vanilla extract. Add in powdered sugar and heavy cream and mix on low speed until combined. Blend in food coloring then increase speed to medium and beat until very light and fluffy, about 5 – 6 minutes, frequently scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Fold in grated chocolate just before spreading frosting over the vessel of your choice.

Chocolate mint chip icing

Peach Olive Oil Cake

Wow.

Subtle. Grassy. Every so slightly sweet. Perfectly moist. Complex.

Peach olive oil cake. Subtle and amazing.

Outstanding.

I am into subtle flavors these days. I have not had the brain capacity to devote to my cooking or this blog that I would like but when I DO sit down and peruse recipes I am drawn to the unique but not overpowering flavors. Remember the honey lavender cupcakes? These are very similar.

A flavor you wouldn’t quite expect but once you taste it you just can’t seem to get enough. To say the least I am more than please with how this turned out.

Peach olive oil cake. Subtle and amazing.

A perfect dessert for when you don’t want something too sweet. Or, if like me, you just simply bought too many peaches and happen to have some outstanding olive oil on hand.

One bit of advice. Don’t skimp on the olive oil. I hummed and hawed about this recipe for a while because I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest that much great (and expensive) oil into an unknown. I am so so so happy I did. The oil I used was incredibly green and had a fantastic forward taste. Use the very best oil you can afford for this recipe. I may be biased but I would recommend a Spanish oil. They are my favorite.

Peach olive oil cake. Subtle and amazing.

This cake also makes me feel kinda grown up. Refined complex flavors but a very short ingredient list.

Going on my to make again list for sure.

Peach olive oil cake. Subtle and amazing.

One year ago today: Rosemary Shortbread

Peach Olive Oil Cake (serves 12)
From Food and Wine

3 ripe peaches, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and coat with vegetable oil spray. In a bowl, toss the peaches with 1/4 cup of the olive oil, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the salt. Let stand until juicy, about 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the eggs, the remaining 3/4 cup of sugar and 1 1/4 cups of olive oil. In another bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk the dry ingredients into the egg mixture. Fold in the peaches and juices. Scrape the batter into the pan; bake for 35 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired. Best eaten still warm.

Peach olive oil cake. Subtle and amazing.

Lavender Honey Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Some tastes are so perfect. So delicate. So refined.

Lavender solidly falls in this category, in my not so humble opinion.

It comes across as downright fancy.

Such a beautiful subtle floral flavor. I love it in baking applications. It makes the very best shortbread (a recipe I have yet to share here and hope to remedy soon). And these cupcakes…. Oh these cupcakes.

Honey lavender cupcakes with a honey cream cheese frosting

I keep a running score list in my head of my favorite recipes- the best dinner dish (currently I am still swooning over the cauliflower pot pie), the very best side dish, my favorite cupcake… etc etc. Up until these cupcakes the vanilla latte cupcakes were my clear favorite.

At first I was certain these lovelies were solidly second place but the more I think about the more, the more I wish I still had some, the more I have come to the conclusion that these are quite possibly the very best cupcakes I have made.

The flavor is perfect. Floral meets honey. The cake texture is a tad dense. And the frosting. Be still my heart the frosting. The absolute perfect compliment to the cake.

These are going on my make again list for sure. Now I just need an excuse. Or not.

Honey lavender cupcakes with a honey cream cheese frosting

One year ago today: Spaghetti with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes and Cherry Crumble Bars

Lavender Honey Cupcakes with a Honey Cream Cheese Frosting (makes aprox. 14)
From Better Homes and Garden

Cake:
1/2 cup butter room temp
2 eggs room temp
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons dried lavender
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup milk

Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese room temp
2 tablespoons butter room temp
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, the 2 teaspoons lavender, and the salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, honey, and vanilla; beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until mixture is combined. Spoon batter into lined muffin tins, filling each about half full. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the muffin tin on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins. Cool completely on wire racks.

In large mixing bowl beat cheese, butter, honey, and vanilla with mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup of the powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

Frost the completely cooled cupcakes with the honey frosting. Sprinkle with more lavender if desired.

Honey lavender cupcakes with a honey cream cheese frosting

Strawberry lemonade cake

Now this is the story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the prince of a town called Bel-air.

Well not the prince of Bel-air but the queen of crazy town. In a good way. Mostly. Last Saturday I made a trek to the Portland airport to pick up a very dear friend Laura, her nearly three year old son, and her niece.

Strawberry lemonade cake

I have my routines and ways of doing things here at home. Doubling the size of my household (which now includes my toddler and a very noisy older toddler) has been overwhelming. I love them to death and I am thrilled beyond reason to have them here but I can’t wait till we are all in a routine and the days flow easier. They are here for seven weeks so there is lots of time to adjust.

Strawberry lemonade cake

So life flipped upside down for sure.

So when life is chaotic, routine and familiarity makes it all better. For me that place is in my kitchen. Yesterday was Laura’s birthday and we couldn’t let it pass by without a cake. The very first cake the two of us have made together. What a blast. She even enjoyed shooting the cake with me.

Strawberry lemonade cake

Happy birthday Laura. Love you to the moon and back.

This cake is also a test run for a shower next month. I intend to make it four layers rather than just two but otherwise this was absolutely perfect.

Enjoy.

Strawberry lemonade cake

One year ago today: Lemon Blueberry Cake (funny it is also lemon cake)

Strawberry Lemonade Cake (serves 12+)
From Two Peas and their Pod

For the cake:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose  flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup buttermilk
8-10 large strawberries, hulled and sliced

For the frosting:
1 cup butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
2-4 large strawberries, mashed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter two 9-inch round baking pans with baking spray. Line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds.

In bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, place the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients and set aside. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, combining thoroughly in between. With the mixer still running, add the lemon juice. (batter will look curdled, but it’s not). Add one third of the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. Repeat, adding another third of the dry ingredients and the remaining 1/2 cup buttermilk. Add the remaining third of the dry ingredients and mix until completely combined and the batter is light and fluffy.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (using a scale makes sure they are the same). Bake the cakes for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool before removing from the pans.

While the cakes are cooling, make the strawberry buttercream frosting. Combine the butter and powdered sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer. Mix together on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk and strawberries and mix on high speed until the frosting is very fluffy and pale pink in color, with flecks of strawberry.

Invert one of the cake rounds onto a cake plate; generously spread with frosting and top with strawberry slices. Repeat with the remaining layer of cake and frosting. Frost the sides of the cake. Put in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set. Serve at room temperature.

Strawberry lemonade cake

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is my last recipe in the “how to use up leftover jam” installment. I promise. 

I have a thing for frosting and always have. One of my favorite parts of being an adult is that I can make and eat frosting without anyone knowing about it. I have frosted many a cake first thing in the morning only to hit SUCH a sugar high before 9 am. It is lovely.

However, it seems that there are many people out there that don’t care much for frosting. I think it is because there is so much overly sweet frosting out there. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sickeningly sweet frosting but I think it is the frosting that gives the rest of them a bad rap.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

I first made this frosting last year for a wedding shower. Be still my heart.

Helloooooo lovely. Where have you been my whole life?

This frosting is perfect. Slightly sweet. Huge strawberry flavor. Incredible texture. It wins over person after person who claims to be a frosting hater. Seriously. Trust me on this.

It is a bit of work to make this frosting. It is a tad technical too. You know what? I believe in you. You can make this. Is it as easy as powdered sugar and butter? No. But it is worth every step of effort, every dirty spatula, every bowl you have to wash.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

If for some reason your frosting breaks/separates (mine did twice) just turn your mixer on medium high, set a timer for 3 minutes, take a deep breath, and then walk away. Both times my frosting broke (second time is above) I did that and both times it came back together. See?

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

And it is delicious paired with chocolate. This isn’t my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe to make but it is vegan and I had a dairy free guest I was cooking for (she had hers sans frosting). Besides you need a simple, easy, no fuss, comes together in a flash cake to make up for how much work the frosting is.

You know where else this frosting shines? In chocolate macaroons. I was so pleased to see I had enough frosting left over to fill a batch of macaroons. I was less pleased my macaroons were hollow. Thankfully they tasted delicious despite their flaws.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

My favorite way to eat it? With a spoon. Yes there is a tiny bit still left int he fridge and I have been slowly eating it bite by bite. I don’t feel the least bit guilty.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

One year ago today: Homemade Ricotta

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (makes 2 dozen cupcakes and enough frosting to frost them plus a little extra)
Cupcakes from the Wycliffe Cookbook, frosting from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full with the batter. Bake at 350°F. oven for 17-19  minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

For the frosting:
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) strawberry jam, pureed in a food processor

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees). You can tell the sugar is dissolved my pinching some of the mixture between two fingers and rubbing- gritty and it isn’t done, smooth and you are set for the next step.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir in strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth. If after adding the jam the frosting breaks (mine did) simply mix on medium high for 2-4 minutes or until smooth.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

One Year Anniversary Party

I meant to post on Friday but see there was this party and I was kinda busy…

Then I meant to post something Saturday morning but was terribly busy….

So I am sorry. But not really. Because it was totally worth it to miss getting a post up.

Thank you all so very very much who came. Thank you for the lovely kind words from those of you who didn’t make it. What a fun fun day.

The party went off without a hitch. There were hardly any leftovers and yet I think everyone got to try everything they wanted. I could not have been more perfect.

So here are a collection of pictures from right before everyone showed up. I intended to take pictures during but set my camera down as the first guest appeared and didn’t pick it back up.

IMG_8587

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

Those beautiful cards with the names of the dishes? Yeah I am not that crafty. I was blessed to have the talented Jayma Malme visit me and so generously make them. She is amazing. Go check out her blog. I am in awe.

Let’s do this again next year!

Ps. Want the recipes? Here is the cookbook! Enjoy!

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

When I plan a shindig and pick out recipes frequently I will include recipes I have never made before. I don’t even make a test run before hand.

I am not trying to brag but 95% of the time I can tell from reading a recipe if it will a) work and b) what it will most likely taste like.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

This recipe made the list for tasty treats I will be serving up this coming Saturday. You know, at the brunch party I am throwing to celebrate this little blog’s first birthday. From 10am-1pm. You are coming right? Good. (If you need directions leave a comment and I will email them to you)

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

I was just going to make this cake. No test run, just throw it together and call it good. Then I got a wild hair and decided that it might fun to put all the recipes I am making for the party into a little cookbook for you to take home with you. Problem was I always adjust recipes after making them. I wanted to include this cake in the cookbook but was hesitant to give you the recipe without making it first.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

In all of this back and forth in my brain I finally decided to do something I don’t think I have ever done- I made a test run. Of course this meant there was cake at my house for no reason whatsoever. I had a friend come over Friday night and between the three of us we devoured half. Then the rest was gone by Saturday evening. It is that good.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Even self proffesed earl grey haters liked this cake. It is subtle but complex. Normally treats that taste this great are lots of steps and many hours. Here is a tasty cake that is super sophisticated taste wise but takes no time at all to throw together. Yum.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Come taste it on Saturday. Well not this one. I’ll make a fresh one.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze (serves 8)
Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

2 Earl Grey tea bags (about 3 tsp leaves)
1/4 cup boiling water
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the glaze:
1/2 cup rhubarb, diced
Zest of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp water
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line a 8 round cake pan. Empty the tea leaves from the tea bags into a cup and add the boiling water. Set aside for 3 minutes then add milk to cup.

Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium and add eggs one at a time, beating until smooth. In a bowl combine the flour, salt and baking powder. With the mixer on low, gradually add flour and tea mixture, alternating between wet and dry ingredients starting and ending with the dry. Beat until just combined.

Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside for 2-3 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is baking and cooling, place rhubarb in a small saucepan on low heat with lemon zest, sugar and water. Stirring occasionally, simmer rhubarb until soft and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Puree mixture in a food processor or blender. Place cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Add sifted icing sugar and rhubarb puree and beat until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake and serve immediately. Can be refrigerated overnight.

Earl Grey Cake with Rhubarb Cream Cheese Glaze