Chocolate Layer Cake

Lets talk about adjusting expectations.

Just because you have managed to do something to the highest degree of awesome once (or even twice!) doesn’t mean you should or have to do it that way again.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

Just because someone does something super awesome in the coolest way doesn’t mean that you need to be that way either.

So much easier said than done.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

While Little isn’t three yet (this birthday is Wednesday) we celebrated his birthday this weekend. The party was not what past parties have been. There was no three layer beautifully decorated cake. The food was simple and easy. The decorations largely commercialized store bought stuff. I felt like the worst mom ever.

And you know what? He loved his party. He woke up the next morning asking if he could have another birthday party.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

I am harder on myself than I should be. Letting go and adjusting my expectations I know would make me a happier person. I’ll get there. It’s just going to be one tiny shift at a time.

One place where I refuse to compromise and adjust expectations is with grain free cooking. I want the grain free food so be as good as the with grain varieties. This cake fits that bill perfectly.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

Beyond impressed.

So while the cake was frosted rather simply and topped with Pixar rather than homemade coolness it WAS absolutely delicious. Even most of the grain eaters who came to the party agreed that it was delicious.

Little clearly loved it.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto

Two years ago today: Buttermilk cake with blackberries

Chocolate Layer Cake (makes 1 two layer 6 in cake)
From Against All Grain

6 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1/4 maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 almond meal
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325 F. Place the eggs, honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla in the bowl of your food processor. Process till fully combined. Add the rest of the ingredients and process till smooth. Allow to sit for 10 minutes (for the coconut flour to absorb some of the liquid). Meanwhile grease two 6 inch pans and line the bottom with a parchment round. Once the batter has rested divide it between the two pans. Bake for 28-32 minutes rotating halfway through. Check for doneness with a toothpick. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan and frosting. Can be made up to three days ahead.

Chocolate layer cake (grain free)

Chocolate Chip Cookies

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis Mere Christianity

This has been a motto for me for quite some time. A little secret about me: I struggle with self image.

We all do right? Right? Thanks for being there with me.

I’ve always been taught to think of others and to put them first. I do this to a fault often neglecting myself.

I know better. I really do. What I need to embrace is to that thinking of others does not mean that I am not wickedly awesome in my own right.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

I’ve been trying on good self talk lately. Some confidence. It’s kinda awesome. However I usually make it through about 3-4 hours of it before my reflex kicks in and I feel guilty for thinking I rock.

Can you join me in working on this? Talking good about yourself and NOT feeling bad about it?

Because we are all badasses in our own right. And that should be celebrated and loved and put on a pedestal. That doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t rocking too.

And the one aspect of who I am that I have chosen to embrace and own is what this little blog is all about: cooking.

I have decided it is my superpower. That doesn’t mean that someone else isn’t good at it or that I am better than anyone because I work voodoo magic in the kitchen. It means that I rock. And I am awesome. And that things that work for me in the kitchen that shouldn’t work ALWAYS turn out.

A super power.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

Phrasing it like that, being proud of myself and not apologizing for it, is hard. I think I like it though. Feeling confident about yourself can be scary. What happens if I fail? What if someone feels intimidated by me? What if I am wrong about myself?

In this small aspect of my life (kitchen superpowerness) I am releasing the what ifs, the anxiety, the feeling of resposibility for other people’s feelings and instead choosing to be proud of myself.

It isn’t easy but I think it will be worth it in the long.

So, my loves, can you please tell me what your superpower is? We all have one. Lets make today about us and how cool we are. Because the cooler we all are the cooler the village is and the more powerful we are together.

Oh… right. And cookies. Here are some delicious grain free cookies that are every bit as good as any variety you have ever had that has grain. I promise.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

One year ago today: Chanterelle Mushroom Tacos

Two years ago today: Homemade Granola

Chocolate Chip Cookies (makes about 16)
From Against All Grain 

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, cream the butter, coconut sugar, honey, egg, and vanilla for about 15 seconds until smooth and fluffy. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and sea salt and mix again until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if needed in order to incorporate all of the flour. Pulse once or twice more.
Stir in the chocolate chips by hand. Place golf-ball sized balls of dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Using another sheet of parchment on top of the dough, flatten them slightly with the palm or your hand or a spatula. The cookies don’t spread much so create the size and thickness you want prior to baking them. Bake for 9-12 minutes, until slightly golden around the edges.

Chocolate chip cookies (grain free)

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust

Since making this chessecake there has been an incredible amount of self control going on at our house. Sure we inhaled half of it the first day but since then we haven’t touched it. We are expecting friends for dinner tomorrow night so I am actually saving it.

Want a little bit of insight? The real reason it is still around is because I am neurotic. I have a way of needing things to be just so. In the case of this cheesecake we had half left so it made sense to save it all. Because there was half. Rational right?

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Had there been a third or a quarter or anything less I am sure that we would have continued eating it. My poor sweet husband knowing and understanding my neurosis has not dared to touch it. And I love him for putting up with me.

How bad is this really? It’s bad. I have a set way in my head of thinking of the leftovers- particularly when they are baked goods or sweets.

For example I had nine leftover cupcakes the other day and the fit neatly in three rows of my cupcake pan in my fridge. After an event I added one more to it so there was 10 (I like even numbers more than odd). Nathan thinking it was safe since the 10th one looked like the odd man out asked if he could eat it.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

No. Sorry love. I am neurotic and now in my mind 10 is better than 9 so you have to leave it.

Living with me comes with cupcakes and cheesecake and one terrible case of the crazies sometimes.

BUT we all get to eat more cheesecake tomorrow and enjoy it.

I am blessed more than you know to have people who put up with me.

Ps. This cheesecake? The best I have ever had. And I am not kidding.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

One year ago today: Snickerdoodles

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Cookie Crust (serves 10-12 easily)
From Martha Stewart 

One half of a batch of this cookie recipe for the base
2 1/4 cups sugar
3 pounds (six 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Wrap exterior of pan (including base) in a double layer of foil. Pat the cookie dough evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake until crust is set, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.

Pour cream cheese filling into prepared pan. Set pan inside a large, shallow roasting pan. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pan to reach halfway up sides of springform pan. Bake 45 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Continue baking until cake is set but still slightly wobbly in the center, about 30 minutes more. Turn off oven; leave cake in oven with door slightly ajar, 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack; let cake cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight. Before unmolding, run a knife around the edge of the cake.

Cheesecake with a chocolate cookie crust

Ice Cream Cake

Last year for my daddy’s birthday I embarked on what was my 100th post. It was the most delicious tiramisu ice cream cake. It took over a week to make. A total showstopper.

See ice cream and my dad are thing. He eats a lot of it. Hey don’t judge. We all have our things. All my vices are drinks- craft cocktails, beer, wine, tea, ridiculously good coffee. Nathan must eat all the chocolate. No matter the quality.

So naturally when his birthday rolled around this year it was time for another ice cream. Life is, to put it mildly, a tad overwhelming these days. It’s just a chapter. It will pass. But in the meantime I don’t have copious amounts of extra brain power.

Ice cream cake

I knew making an ice cream cake was simple. Despite my lack of processing capacity in my brain I poured over recipes (I think it was an escape really). There just wasn’t anything that seemed right and I waffled back and forth so many times.

Till all of a sudden it was the day before his birthday and I had no cake. Not that I hadn’t been thinking about it every.single.day. I just hadn’t decided what I was doing.

So, in a rare screw it all moment, I did something I have never done before with a cake- I winged it. Well not entirely because the cake itself is a tried and true recipe but I had absolutely no idea how it would do frozen and or how this whole mess would turn out.

This is how it went down. I made the cake, froze it, let some ice cream soften on the counter, smeared it on the frozen cake, topped with second frozen layer, refroze the whole things, then “frosted” with whipped cream and add sprinkles.

And then I forgot to photography if before we cut in to it. Because it was that good. A simple cake but oh so delicious. This will be happening again sometime soon. I promise.

Ice cream cake

One year ago today: Brown Butter Rosemary Cornbread

Ice Cream Cake (serves 12 easily)
Mine

2 pints of your favorite ice cream ( I used Trader Joes chocolate chip mint)
2 layers of your favorite chocolate cake (I made this one and froze the extra third layer)
1/2 pint whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Freeze your layers of chocolate cake. Thirty minutes before assembly place your ice cream on the counter to soften. Place one cake layer on your board or plate. Make a collar for the cake extending up 2-3 inches out of wax paper. Secure around the bottom later with tape. Spoon in and spread around the softened ice cream. Top with the second layer and press down firmly (this will help spread the ice cream). Put back in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Whip the whipping cream with the sugar and vanilla till firm. Remove the cake from the freezer and frost quickly. Add any decorations or sprinkle you want. Put back in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Enjoy.

Ice cream cake

Chocolate Roulade

When it has come to this family’s foray into cake baking it has largely been my task.

Except for roulades. Nathan got a wild hair years ago and churned out a couple of these with varying degrees of success. Well success as far presentation was concerned. Taste wise they were absolute winners each and every time.

chocolate roulade

He even went so far as to actually ensure we had a great jelly roll pan just for making roulades. Then they ceased. Loss of interest? Moved on to other baking ventures? I can’t remember why but we haven’t had one in the house for years.

In planning a birthday cake for my lovely friend Bev, Nathan suggested making a roulade again. I wasn’t convinced. I hummed and hawed about it and finally decided to give it a shot. It’s just the idea of rolling a cake was stressing me out.

chocolate roulade

I knew there was a recipe in my Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and what finally sold me on the idea that I COULD roll a cake was her technique. You roll the cake in a towel while still hot. You read that right- the cake comes out of the oven straight onto a cocoa powder dusted towel and rolled. It is then cooled completely wrapped up.

I am not going to lie and say that then filling the roulade wasn’t stressful but it was easier than I had anticipated. I would recommend liberally dusting the towel with the cocoa powder. It stuck in a couple of places because I was stingy.  Eh… it wasn’t that bad but perfectionist me was annoyed.

chocolate roulade

Also I didn’t have the time or patience that day to make the fancy chocolate mouse filling and opted instead to fill it is a kahlua spiked whipped cream. It was a stroke of brilliance really because the desert ended up being light and perfect. A cake you could easily eat half of and not realize it.

And eat it we did. The whole thing was put away at Tuesday night pizza and beer with no protests from anyone.

chocolate roulade

One year ago today: Granola Clusters and Easy Veggie Curry

Chocolate Roulade (serves 10-12)
From Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/4 all purpose flour
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon boiling water
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Coat a 12 x 17 inch jelly-roll pan with cooking spray; line with parchment. Coat lining with cooking spray. Dust with cocoa; tap out excess. Sift cocoa, flour into a bowl. Set aside. Dissolve coffee into hot water. Set aside. Separate eggs. Beat egg yolks until pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites frothy. Then add the sugar and beat on medium high heat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in egg whites to egg yolk mixture. Carefully then add the coffee and flour mixtures. Pour batter into pan and smooth out carefully. Bake until cake pulls away from sides of pan and is springy to the touch. About 10-12 minutes. Run a thin knife around cake. Invert onto a clean kitchen towel dusted generously with cocoa; peel off parchment. Starting from one short end, roll cake, using towel to guide into a log (you are rolling the towel INTO the cake). Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

Meanwhile beat the whipping cream, kahlua, and sugar in a bowl till set.

When cooled, unroll cake. Spread with whipped cream, leaving a small border. Roll up again, removing the kitchen towel as you go. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate. Dust generously with cocoa powder. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

chocolate roulade

Cream Cheese Brownies

Sometime things don’t turn out exactly how you had hoped.

Often I tackle complicated baking or cooking projects and they turn out perfectly on the first go around. And by often I mean 99% of the time. I attribute it to my ability to pick a good recipe.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Today I was really hoping to share croissants with you. I worked on them for what felt like all weekend. They were ok but not perfect. They look absolutely stunning and I am proud to have made them BUT there are is much trouble shooting to be done. I plan on tackling them again this coming weekend and, fingers crossed, I can side step all the mistakes of this first batch and have a stellar recipe to share with you.

So instead here are some brownie. Nathan had been craving brownies all week and I was more than happy to oblige. Besides, yesterday was the Super Bowl and what better day to overindulge in sweet treats?

Cream Cheese Brownies

These are also on the list of things that didn’t turn out exactly as hoped but they are chocolate and cream cheese so much more forgivable than butter, flour, and yeast. I think they were left in the oven just a touch too long so as long as you stick to the 35 minutes recommended in the recipe I believe they will be perfectly gooey.

Cream Cheese Brownies

And by not perfect I mean they were deliciously edible chocolately cheesecakey squares of heaven.

I highly recommend these. And hopefully soon I can recommend an equally delicious croissant recipe.

Cream Cheese Brownies

One year ago today: Ginger Molasses Cookies

Cream Cheese Brownies (makes 16)
From Smitten Kitchen

1 stick (1/2 cup or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, well softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate chips for sprinkling if desired

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Heat butter and chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until just melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla, and a pinch of salt until well combined. Whisk in flour until just combined and spread in baking pan.

Make cheesecake batter by whisking together the sugar, cream cheese, egg yolk, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. Dollop over brownie batter, then swirl in with a knife or spatula. It might take several passes to get it marbled. Sprinkle chocolate chips over cheesecake/brownie batter swirl if using.

Bake until edges are slightly puffed and center is just set, about 35 minutes. Slice once completely cool.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Do you ever have a moment when you SWEAR you share a brain with someone?

How about over cake? Yeah. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a common occurrence.

I make a lot of birthday cakes. I have my own favorite kinds of cake and I would just make the same cake over and over again if I didn’t ask the honoree what they like. Hence why I made a peanut butter pie of sorts when I don’t even like peanut butter and chocolate.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

My lovely friend Jenny was out of town giving ski lessons in Vail on her birthday. She just recently moved back to Eugene for her MBA (we met in undergrad- marching band to be precise). I sent her a happy birthday text along with a what kind of cake do you want request. I had just been gifted a new cake cookbook and was perusing recipes. The angel food cake recipe caught my eye as I had leftover egg white lurking in my freezer from copious cream pies I made over the holiday.

Chocolate angel food cake came the reply. Um. What? That was the exact recipe I had been reading when I got her message.

I couldn’t wait. A cake I sooooo wanted to make and a birthday girl who was so excited to get it. Win win win win.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

And the cake was a breeze. Mostly because I didn’t crack a.single.egg. That’s right. Not one. I simply pulled the egg whites out of the freezer and set them in the fridge the day before. Yeah. There were that many egg whites in my freezer. Moral of the story- freeze your egg whites. Mercifully this recipe gave he egg whites as a volume measurement so I didn’t even have to try and guess at how many I had.

However I did have to grate chocolate which was a bear. But I think it was worth it.

Because what a delicious cake it was. Not overly sweet Perfectly fluffy. Decadently speckled with bitter unsweetened chocolate.

I love me some angel food cake and can’t recall the last time I had a homemade one. Now I know it is totally worth the effort. Too bad it wasn’t June and we didn’t have sun warmed strawberries to put on it. Sigh. I might just have to make the cake again. Bummer.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

One year ago today: Nutter Butters

Chocolate Angel Food Cake (serves 8-12)
From Rose’s Heavenly Cakes

1 1/2 cups, divided superfine sugar
3/4 cup cake flour, lightly spooned and leveled off
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 large egg whites, at room temperature, or 2 cups
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 oz fine-quality unsweetened chocolate, chilled, finely grated, refrigerated

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together half the sugar, the flour, and salt until evenly combined. Sift the remaining sugar onto a piece of wax paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. With the mixer off, add the cream of tartar. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the sifted sugar and continue beating on medium-high speed until very stiff peaks form when the beater is raised slowly. Beat in the vanilla until combined.

Dust (lightly sprinkle) the flour mixture over the beaten whites, 1/4 cup at a time. With a large balloon whisk fold in the flour mixture quickly but gently. It is not necessary to incorporate every speck until the last addition. Fold in the grated chocolate until evenly incorporated. Using a long narrow spatula or silicone spatula, spread a thin layer of batter onto the sides of the 10 inch two-piece metal tube pan to ensure smooth sides. Empty the rest of the batter into the pan. It will be 1/2-inch from the top of the rim. Run a small metal spatula or knife through the batter to prevent air pockets and smooth the surface evenly.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden brown, a wire cake tester inserted between the tube and the side comes out clean, and the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. (A wooden toothpick will still have a few moist crumbs clinging to it.) During baking, the center will rise about 2 inches above the pan, but it will sink to almost level with the pan when done. The surface will have deep cracks, like a souffle. Invert the pan immediately, placing the tube opening over the neck of a wine bottle to suspend it well above the countertop. Cool completely in the pan, about 1 1/2 hours.

Loosen the sides of the pan with a long narrow spatula and remove the center core of the pan. Dislodge the cake from the bottom and center core with a metal spatula or thin sharp knife. Invert the cake onto a flat plate. Allow the cake to sit for 1 hour, or until the top is no longer tacky. Then cover it with a cake dome or wrap it airtight. It keeps for 3 days at room temperature and for 10 days refrigerated.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Hot Cocoa

Who knew this was a recipe?

I make this without thinking about it. So far during this cold weather season we have had it approximately 3.4 million times. I exaggerate but seriously at least twice a week.

Easy adaptable homemade cocoa!

It feels dumb to even share it as a recipe because this is one of the many throw-things-in-the-pan “recipes” I have. Nathan insists I share these with you though, and considering the cold temperatures and the versatility of this recipe, I figure it is high time I share it with you.

No additives. No artificial ingredients I can’t pronounce. Just sugar and cocoa. And then whatever little version of happiness you add to it. This particular “recipe” has been graced with almost everything in our liquor cabinet. I am not an orange and chocolate person so triple sec might be the one party spared.

Easy adaptable homemade cocoa!

 

Frangelico, Bailey’s, vodka (vanilla or otherwise), peppermint Schnapps, whiskey, brandy…. all of it. I don’t recommend them all at the same time but one generous splash from any of them elevates this from a kid’s post-snow play snack to mommy’s wind-down treat at bedtime.

Often, though, I am just a little kid at heart and I pack my mug halfway full of marshmallows and pour the steaming deliciousness over it, thereby melting them and making it a sickeningly sweet mess. Yum.

Easy adaptable homemade cocoa!

I tend to not make my cocoa very sweet and leave the sweetening up to my additions. Try stirring in a candy cane. Bliss.

Oh. And while I am absolute sucker for store bought mini marshmallows…. there is nothing quite like homemade marshmallows. Trust me on this one. (Recipe coming, I promise.)

Easy adaptable homemade cocoa!

One year ago today: Cranberry Orange Muffins

Hot Cocoa (makes as many as you want)
Mine

Per serving:

1 cup milk of your choosing
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon sugar (or more to taste)
1 tiny pinch of salt
1 little splash of vanilla extract

Additives of your choice: Peppermint Schnapps, peppermint extract, instant coffee powder, Bailey’s, Frangelico, vanilla vodka, etc. etc. Let your imagination run wild.

Add the milk to a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the cocoa powder and sugar and whisk to combine. Once hot (steaming) remove from heat and add the splash of vanilla extract. Serve immediately with a candy cane or marshmallows or whipped cream.

Easy adaptable homemade cocoa!

Cookie Dough Frosting (or filling)

Yes another cake!

I am so incredibly blessed to be included in so many birthday celebrations. So. Many.

 Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

My lovely, sweet, beautiful friend Jenifer moved across the country a few years back and I don’t get to see her enough.

Thanksgiving weekend coincided with her birthday AND a trip back here to Oregon. I cannot get enough of her when she is back here. I was so lucky this time to get to have her over for dinner one night and then be asked to host her birthday party.

And birthdays mean cake. I am not going to even bother linking to all the birthday treats and cakes on here. There are so very, very many.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

This is actually attempt 2.0 at this frosting/filling recipe. It made its first appearance at my sister’s birthday at the beginning of the month. Total crowd pleaser.

When chatting with Jenifer about what kind of cake she wanted she suggested Funfetti. Um… I have feelings on that. Instead I offered her a chocolate on chocolate cake filled with cookie dough. Funfetti was quickly forgotten. Mercifully.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

My chocolate cake recipe is my standard go to. I can’t help myself. It is consistent and delicious. Light and moist — utterly perfect.

The cookie dough frosting (or filling as it was in this case) has no eggs so there is no concern about salmonella or the like. It doesn’t fare particularly well out in the air for long so I would recommend only using it if you are frosting cupcakes then immediately serving. Otherwise do as I did and fill a chocolate cake with it.

So much win.

Oh and this is going in my back pocket to make and serve at sleepovers when Little gets bigger. Cause I am a cool mom like that.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

One year ago today: Turkey (or chicken) biscuit pot pie

Cookie Dough Frosting (or filling) (makes enough to fill one layer of a cake or frost about 18 cupcakes)
From the Girl Who Ate Everything

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons milk
1 cup mini chocolate chips

With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar at medium speed. Add the vanilla and beat well. Add the flour and salt and mix until combined. Add the milk gradually until desired consistency is reached and beat until fluffy. Gently fold in chocolate chips. Frost cooled cupcakes. I like mine thick so I kind of spoon is on. Store in refrigerator.

For the rest of the cake I used this chocolate cake poured in two 9 inch pans and baked for 30-35 min and this chocolate frosting doubled.

Cookie dough frosting (of filling)

Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese

Do you enjoy reading?

I do. So very much so. When Little was first born I read through more books than I can remember while nursing with one arm and reading on my Kindle with the other.

I have fallen out of the habit. Since Little became more mobile I have seemingly lost my ability to concentrate for more than 10 minutes at a time. Even when he is bed I struggle to stay focused on a book however engaging.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

Till this past week.

I have a sweet dear friend whom I love to pieces. She is beautiful outside and in and so very very ambitious. Do you know what she did? SHE WROTE A BOOK. An honest to goodness novel. And a spectacular one at that.

I tore through the book. For someone with little to no down time finishing a book in under a week is kinda a big deal. I think it took me 5 days. Once you hit chapter 25/26 you are toast till the end. I am warning you.

Brooke is like family to me. She is so terribly talented in to many arenas. She and her husband had a lovely sweet baby girl about four months before we had Little. Truly my kindred spirit.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

We often joke that we need to be sisterwives. Half the time I am not joking. Half the time I am sure she isn’t either. Maybe more.

This weekend I was honored to make this lovely cake for her book release party. Did I mention she WROTE A NOVEL? And what a lovely evening it was. She made the most tempting appetizers and delicious dinner. We all got to mingle and talk about how amazingly awesome she is and how awesome her book is.

Which is all so very very true.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

The book is titled Marked by Glory and is the  tale of Amy Masters. Born of noble blood and completely unaware of the fact, she is swiftly thrust into the world of the supernatural when a pair of late night intruders forcibly tattoo her birthright on her. It is a story of love, loss, battle, and destiny. A wickedly good read.

So you know what? I want you to read her book. Partly because I am beyond proud of her and partly because it is just so good.

Shameless promotion but you can buy it here on Amazon or here on Barnes and Noble.

I am offering you the chance to WIN a copy. I should preface that it is currently in ebook format so I will send it to your Kindle or Nook (you can get an app for free if you have a smart phone). If you are technologically challenged and patient and you want a physical copy and you win we can wait till it is in print in about a month and I will mail you a copy.

So… comment on this post and tell me what your favorite book is. All comments made by midnight Nov 21st, 2013 will be entered into a drawing for a copy of this fabulous book. One entry per person for commenting. You can get a second entry if you share this post on facebook and then come back here AND comment that you shared the post.

And yes. I made a cake. It was delicious. And pretty.

But seriously just go read the book.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting

One year ago today:Pumpkin Crème Candies

Chocolate Layer Cake with Cream Cheese
From Key Ingredient

Cake
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup cream cheese
3/4 cup butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup butter (4 ounces)
3/4 cups cocoa powder
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat three 8-inch cake pans butter. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the boiling water; the batter will be very thin.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cake pans (a scale works great for this). Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pans for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Wrap each layer in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Make the cream cheese filling and chocolate buttercream (see recipes below). When you’re ready to assemble the cake, remove the layers from the refrigerator. If needed, level each layer with a serrated knife or cake leveler.

Place the bottom layer on a cake plate. Evenly spread about 3/4 cup of the cream cheese filling over the cake, leaving about 1/2 inch margin around the edges. Top with the second layer and repeat. Finally, top with the third layer. Apply a thin layer of chocolate buttercream over the top and sides of the cake. This is only a crumb coat, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Refrigerate the cake for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and apply a final layer of chocolate buttercream, as well as any desired embellishments.

Cream Cheese Frosting
Beat the cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Add the vanilla and beat one minute more. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the powdered sugar about 1/2 cup at a time. Once the sugar is completely incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate Buttercream
In a large bowl, combine the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Beat the butter with an electric mixer at medium speed for about one minute. Reduce the mixing speed to low, and add the sugar/cocoa mixture about 1/2 cup at a time. Halfway through this process, add the milk and vanilla. Once all of the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, beat at medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.

Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting