strawberry cake

can we institute adult spring break???

like a real life mandatory week off??

i mean i don’t feel like i’m asking for too much. i’m not asking for 3 months in the summer. i’m just asking for a week that i don’t have to take my vacation time for because that’s ya know… for those random friday afternoons i feel like taking a nap.

i think we should make that the law of the land.

adult spring break.

we’re gonna make it happen.

and i’ll make you this cake for it.

see it’s another one of those things that i make that i don’t eat.

which one of my coworkers asked me about… how i could make these cakes and things and not eat them. my simple reply. my waistline appreciates it. and honestly, i just like to bake and make people happy with it.

strawberry cake was another work birthday request and it just so happened that i had watched trisha yearwood make her grandmother’s strawberry cupcakes. i knew it was meant to be. i did a little bit more digging and decided that a white chocolate cream cheese frosting would be the perfect compliment because ya know… i love me some strawberries and cream cheese.

but don’t worry.

i can tell you everyone at the office LOVED this cake!

strawberry cake

strawberry cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz) box strawberry jello
  • 2/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c frozen sliced strawberries in syrup, thawed
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 c water
  • white chocolate cream cheese frosting (recipe below)
  1. preheat oven to 350F. grease two 9 in cake pans.
  2. with a mixer, beat together the cake mix, strawberry jello, vegetable oil, strawberries, eggs and water. divide evenly among prepared pans; bake 22-25 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. remove from the oven and let cool 10 min in the pans before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely. once the cakes are cooled completely, frosted with the white chocolate cream cheese frosting.

white chocolate cream cheese frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temp
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 6 oz white chocolate, chopped and melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 c powdered sugar
  1. beat together the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. add the melted white chocolate and vanilla; beat until smooth. reduce the speed to low and add the powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. spread on / in between the strawberry cake.

kisses.

cake recipe from: trisha’s southern kitchen, frosting recipe from: two peas and their pod

this post is linked up to these fun link parties! what’s cookin’ wednesdays, what’s in your kitchen wednesdays and taste and tell thursdays

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black & white cookies

so apparently i wrote my letter to mother nature a little too early this year. i still mean every word to her but i might have should have wait a week or two to put pen to paper.

see while we still haven’t had “seasons” in like ages…. we are having a final cold snap. it’s supposed to freeze tonight. oh and then we’re back into the mid 70s this weekend and next week. and for everyone out there telling me to be happy that i’m not waking up to 5 ft of snow, hush it.

and then have a cookie.

so apparently black & white cookies (aka black & whites… so original i know) are a big thing up in the new york area delis / diners. i can’t vouch for this. i’ve been to new york once and it was a long time ago and i don’t think we actually ate at a true new york deli / diner. what i do know is that the whole foods by my work recently installed a cookie bar….

wait can we talk about this for just a second? yes. it’s a cookie bar. ya know. like a salad bar. full of little cookies. mad genius i tell you.

sorry.

so WF installed this cookie bar that i can’t resist getting one or two when i go get a salad on those days i forget my lunch. and on their little evil cookie bar, they have black & whites which i get every time! i like to try and get a little variety but for a while there was ALWAYS a black & white in the mix. so i decided i needed to figure out how to make these.

if you’ve never had a black & white, they’re a soft, cakey cookie traditionally with a hint of lemon. in fact, most of the recipes i saw used lemon extract. then the cookies are frosted on one side with a chocolate frosting and a vanilla frosting on the other. so it’s like the very best of both worlds. i kept to tradition for the most part but subbed out orange zest for the lemon extract. honestly, it was more because it was what was in my kitchen than being difficult. but it worked out beautifully. i would be difficult next time and repeat myself.

black & white cookies

black and white cookies

  • 4 c cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1-3/4 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla, divided
  • 1 c milk, room temp
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/4 c light corn syrup
  • 1/3 c water
  • 5 c powdered sugar
  1. preheat oven to 375F. line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
  2. whisk the flour and baking powder together in a bowl; set aside. beat together the butter, salt and sugar until light and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla and orange zest; beat until combined. with the mixer on low, alternately add the flour and milk in 4 additions beginning and ending with the flour. mix until just combined.
  3. using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepared cookie sheets, spacing 2 in apart. moisten your fingertips and press down each dough scoop until it is about 3/8 in thick. back 12-15 min until the centers are firm and edges are just beginning to brown. remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool 2 min before removing to a rack to cool completely. once all the cookes are baked, let them all cool completely before icing.
  4. make the icing: add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. let the chocolate melt, stirring occasionally and set aside. combine the corn syrup and 1/3 c water in saucepan and bring to a boil. remove the pan from the heat and mix in the powdered sugar and remaining 1/2 tsp vanilla until smooth. add 3/4 c of the vanilla icing to the melted chocolate and stir to combine.
  5. glaze the cookies: place the cookies on wax paper and using an offset spatula, spread about 1 tbs of the vanilla icing on half of each cookie. let the vanilla icing set for 15 min before repeating the process with the chocolate icing. let the glaze set for at least an hour before putting the cookies into an airtight container in between sheets of wax / parchment paper.

a couple notes…

you may need to thicken / thin out the icing when you’re initially mixing it. just add hot water (vanilla) or milk (chocolate) / powdered sugar, until you reach a glazing consistency. i did not have that issue.

i did however find that when i was glazing the cookies that the icing got hard, faster than i could finish the cookies. to combat this, all i did was keep my saucepan over a very low heat / double boiler while i glazed. this worked out perfectly.

lastly, the size of my cookies were not the hubcap size cookies that i hear they make in the northeast. these were a normal, sensible size cookie, ie i could eat more without feeling bad. BUT if you want hubcap size cookies, just use a larger cookie scoop or 1/4 c measure to scoop out your cookies. you should get about 6 to each cookie sheet and they’ll bake for 18-20 min.

now i don’t have to be lured in by that cookie bar.

take that wf!

kisses.

recipe barely adaped from: tracey’s culinary adventures

this post is linked up to these fun link parties! what’s cookin’ wednesdays, what’s in your kitchen wednesdays and taste and tell thursdays

birthday cupcakes

i feel like it’s only natural that every year i write mother nature a little note so here it goes…

dear mother nature,

82F. it’s not even spring break yet. i am not ready for the heat that i know is coming this summer. i will most definitely melt.

sincerely, someone who would really appreciate a “spring” season.

for real y’all.

we’re barely halfway through march and the highs are starting to hit the 80s. i am absolutely not prepared for this.

or let me correct that.

i’m prepared since it comes every year BUT i’m not mentally prepared. i really think i might melt this summer. like you have no idea.

ya know might help me out?

sno-balls. i’ve talked about sno-balls once before. these are not sno-cones. true new orleans style sno-balls are like cups of fluff flavored however your heart desires.

my heart? it will forever be true to a wedding cake sno-ball. maybe if i’m a little crazy that day, it’s half wedding cake and half ice cream. but wedding cake is ALWAYS there.

and these cupcakes? totally like little dense wedding cakes which for me (and my friend amiee) makes them like the best birthday cupcakes which is exactly what these cupcakes were made for.

for those who say wedding cake flavor let me explain… it’s basically a white cake with almond flavoring which is undoubtly my one of my favorite flavors on this planet. and i upped it a bit by using my favorite marshmallow buttercream and replacing the vanilla extract with almond extract. it totally bumps up the almondiness of it all.

birthday cupcakes

birthday cupcakes

  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 egg white, room temp
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c melted unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp almond extract
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 c whole milk
  • 1 recipe marshmallow buttercream
  • sprinkles, for decorating
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.
  2. in a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. in a large bowl whisk together the eggs, egg white and sugar until smooth and well combined. gradually add the melted butter while whisking; whisk in the extracts. stir in the dry ingredients until just combined; add in milk and stir together until a smooth batter forms. pour batter into the cupcake liners, filling the liners 3/4 way full. bake 12-15 min until the cupcakes are set. cool completely.
  4. while the cupcakes cool, make the marshmallow buttercream substituting 1-1/2 tsp almond extract for the vanilla extract. once the cupcakes are completely cooled, pipe / frost them with the almond marshmallow buttercream and sprinkle with colorful sprinkles!

make these for the next birthday person in your life. they’ll love you forever!

kisses.

cupcake recipe very barely adapted from: how sweet eats

this post is linked up to these fun link parties! what’s cooking wednesday, what’s in your kitchen wednesday and taste and tell thursdays

blood orange cake

do you ever have those moments when you’re running around running errands and you didn’t try and/or care about trying to look all kinds of sexy and then you realize you’re having the best skin / hair day of your life??!

ok well i’ll admit that’s only happened like three times in my entire 28 years but hey…

it happened.

it’s also how i feel about this cake.

ok well maybe it’s more like the unassumingly sexy cake that might have a few skin issues and maybe not the best hair but it’s having that perfect day.

really and truly.

this isn’t the world’s sexiest looking cake. in all honestly, it’s actually kinda not pretty. it’s a little pale. but pale isn’t a bad thing.

(trust me on that… you can see through my skin 🙂 )

but this cake is oh so yummy. a couple years ago, i made this like every week. and then i started making all kinds of other stuff and the recipe for this cake got shoved into a binder not seeing the light of day. and then i started following food bloggers on twitter and someone asked for a lemon cake recipe and the light bulb went off. so i pulled out that binder and dusted this recipe off.

i know that you’re now kinda scratching your head saying… “but emily. you just said a lemon cake recipe and the title of the post is for a blood orange cake.”

true story.

this IS a lemon cake recipe but i’ve made it with different citrus fruits and this time i happened to have some blood oranges that needed to be used. so i went with blood oranges this time. it’s a really versitile cake recipe so pick up some of the last blood oranges in the store and get to work!

blood orange cake

blood orange cake

  • 3/4 c unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 c + 1/2 c sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp grated blood orange zest
  • 2 large eggs, room temp
  • 1-1/4 c self rising flour
  • 1/4 c blood orange juice
  1. preheat oven to 325F. grease and flour an 8 in square glass baking dish.
  2. cream the butter in a large mixing bowl until smooth. add the sugar and blood orange zest; beat until light and fluffy. beat in one egg, then half the flour; repeat.
  3. pour the batter in the baking dish and spread evenly. bake 20-30 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. remove from the oven and place on a rack while you make the glaze.
  4. to make the glaze, combine the remaining 1/2 c sugar and the 1/4 c blood orange juice; stir until dissolved.
  5. use a toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the still warm cake. pour the blood orange glaze slowly over the top of the cake, allowing it to soak in. cool the cake completely.
  6. cut the cake into small squares and dust with powdered sugar; serve with whipped cream.

as delicious as the cake is the day of, it’s even better after you’ve let it all meld together for a day. store any leftover cake covered in the fridge.

but for real….

make this cake. now.

kisses.

recipe from: the advocate newspaper

this post is linked up to these fun link parties! what’s cooking wednesday, what’s in your kitchen wednesday and taste and tell thursdays

mini grasshopper pies

so we continue with mint chocolate week!!

i mean it’s really only 2 days but i’m calling that a week.

speaking of 2 day weeks… can we like change the work “week” to a 2 day week and have a 5 day weekend instead?

that would really be awesome. i mean weekends fly by so stinking fast and work weeks always seem to draaaaaaaaaaaaag. let’s switch it up.

back to mint and chocolately goodness.

not only are we finishing up our (2 day) mint chocolate week but it’s also pi day! which means that food blogs all over the interwebs are going to post all kinds of pie recipes since it’s 3.14.

i may not know / forget all the food centric holidays but if there’s anything i remember from mrs. mecom’s high school geometry class it’s that pi is 3.14 (aaaaand that’s as far as i go).

so since we’re celebrating all that is good in mint and chocolate, grasshopper pie is perfect! and these are baby grasshopper pies!

(and by baby i mean mini…. no baby grasshoppers were harmed in the making of these pies.)

i love love love the idea of food in jars. i think it’s so fun so when i was trying to figure out a pie for pi day, the idea for baby pies in baby mason jars struck me. and then i saw ree’s recipe for grasshopper pie and the two ideas melded into one!

ree uses regular oreos for her crust but i really wanted to bump up the mintiness of it all so i used the mint creme filled oreos.

which by the way are my favorites. i know. shocking. but ever since those came out, it’s like the others could go away. and while we’re on the subject of eating oreos, can we all just agree that the proper way to eat them is to stick a fork in the creme and dunk it all the way in the milk until the bubbles stop. #lifechanging.

back to the pie…

grasshopper pie traditionally uses creme de menthe and creme de cacao. now, i love me some drinks but neither one of these liquors would probably see too much air time in my kitchen if they weren’t being used for grasshopper pie. so i did the next logical thing and just subbed some peppermint extract for the alcohol. this way, no bottles of liquor sat staring at me like a terrible person and we can still enjoy all the minty goodness.

and here’s one more tip. when you pack the crust in the bottom of your mason jars, don’t pack it too tight. once it freezes, it FREEZES and you almost can’t get through it without some super human strength. so pack the crust but don’t overpack the crust. got it?

mini grasshopper pies

mini grasshopper pie

  • 16 whole mint creme filled oreos
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 (14 oz) jar marshmallow creme
  • 2/3 c half and half
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 5 drops green food coloring (more or less to your taste in green)
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • whip cream for topping
  1. throw your cookies in a food processor; chop the cookies until their crumbs. add butter and give it a good spin until combined. put 1 tbs of cookie crumb / butter mixture into the bottom of 12 (4 oz) mason jars. press down to lightly pack the cookie crumb crust. set aside.
  2. heat marshmallow creme and half and half in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. once it’s melted and well combined, place the saucepan in a bowl full of ice and water (ice bath) to cool it down completely. add peppermint extract and green food colorings.
  3. in a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff; pour in the minty marshmallow mixture into the whipped cream and fold together gently. pour 2/3 c of the filling into each of the mini mason jars; put the lids on and stick in the freezer to freeze until very firm (at least 2 hours).
  4. when ready to serve, take out the mason jars 5 min before serving and top with some whip cream.

very best part about these… they’re single serve and can chill in my freezer. meaning i can be selfish and not share with my work!! 🙂

hope you have an awesome pi day!! speaking of… how many decimal places can you go with it?!?

kisses.

recipe adapted from: the pioneer woman

I’m partying at the Pi Day Pie Party at Crazy for Crust today. Come party with us!

This post is also linked up to these other fun link parties! What’s Cooking Wednesday and Taste and Tell Thursdays

chocolate cupcakes w/ mint chip buttercream

so i can’t believe it’s been like a year since i posted a mint and chocolate combination. i mean if i’m being honest it’s probably my favorite chocolate based combination. i mean it’s also one of my favorite food combinations period.

and it’s also perfect this time of year.

i mean i’m not entirely sure that the irish love mint flavored food as much as we like to pretend they do around st. patrick’s day. but i’ll just keep believing that in my head and dub this week…. MINT CHOCOLATE WEEK!!

holla!!

for real.

and today we’re going to keep it simple. we’re going to make some of sally‘s mint chip buttercream to jazz up some chocolate cupcakes.

seeing as how the mint and chocolate combination is one of my favorites, it should be no surprise that mint chip ice cream is in my top 5. no joke. that green tinted ice cream with flecks of chocolate throughout. it’s as perfect as a perfect vanilla. the flecks of chocolate give the plain ice cream base a little texture and pure heavenliness. so when sally recently posted this recipe, i knew it needed to be front and center this week.

and this was such a genius buttercream that i’m kicking myself for not thinking of it. that’s usually what happens with all the best ideas.

while sally made her cupcakes from scratch, i took the short cut of using a box mix. sometimes the short cuts are called for. also, you are jazzing them up by making the buttercream from scratch. sometimes, that’s more than enough. and i feel like this buttercream does the perfect job of jazzing up some dark chocolate cupcakes. it really does feel like you’ve put some mint chip ice cream on top, even though it’s not cold. and for someone who was never a fan of cake AND ice cream (like together), this is the perfect substitute!

chocolate cupcakes with mint chip buttercream

chocolate cupcakes w mint chip buttercream

  • 18 chocolate cupcakes (homemade or made with cake mix)
  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3-4 c powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs heavy cream
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2+ drops green food coloring – start with 2 drops and add until you reach your desired color
  • pinch salt
  • 2/3 c mini chocolate chips
  1. beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy. add 3 c powdered sugar, heavy cream, peppermint extract, food coloring and pinch of salt. beat on high until until the buttercream is light and fluffy. you may need to add more powdered sugar (if it’s too thin) or more cream (if it’s too thick). stir in the chocolate chips.
  2. spread a generous amount of buttercream on each of the chocolate cupcakes.
  3. enjoy any leftover buttercream off a spoon!

do you think the irish love mint and chocolate? because i’m celebrating it again on thursday!

kisses.

buttercream recipe from: sally’s baking addiction

This post is linked up to these fun link parties! What’s Cooking Wednesday and Taste and Tell Thursdays

brown sugar maple cookies

can we just talk a quick second about MRIs?

can we all agree that in this day and age they should be able to come up with a WAY better machine than what they have now?! i mean those machines are obnoxious. i mean laying there and not being able to move. the smarty pants MRI machine builders really need to figure out a way that someone could lay comfortably. if you were able to say, turn on your side, i totally could have fallen asleep despite the noise.

and can we just say that proves my ability to sleep through pretty much anything?

but you just lay there. thinking about how much you want to turn on your side so you can take a nice little catnap…. or that “man i really want to stretch my legs out right now.”…. or how much you want this to hurry up to get that stupid iv out your arm.

and then you finish and all you can think is how much you deserve a cookie for laying super still.

and that’s exactly what i rewarded myself with the minute i walked back in the office.

nevermind the fact that i’d been eating these little gems like they were going out of style all week.

i know i say it a lot but when i saw this recipe it was like it was destined to be made in my kitchen. for real. i mean we know i love maple and soft cookies. plus i had everything it called for in my kitchen. even the obscure bread flour that most people probably don’t have hanging out in their cupboard. (did i really just use that word?)

these cookies really were fantastic and have stayed soft and chewy for days. awesomeness.

and they’re the perfect reward for laying still in the MRI machine. or for just getting out of bed because we know what a struggle that could be.

brown sugar maple cookies

brown sugar maple cookies

  • 3/4 c (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3/4 c dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp maple extract
  • 1 c bread flour – if you wanted, you could use all all-purpose flour
  • 1 c flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  1. beat the butter, salt and sugars on medium-high until well combined. scrape down the side of the bowl. add the egg, vanilla and maple extract; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl again; add flours, cornstarch and baking soda. mix on low until just combined.
  2. using a standard cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough out on to a plate / platter; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cookie dough mounds for at least 2 hours.
  3. preheat oven to 350F. line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. place dough mounds on the prepared cookie sheet about 1″ apart. bake 10-12 min until the cookies are just starting to brown around the edges.
  4. remove trays from the oven and press down slightly on the cookies if they stayed domed while baking. allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 min before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. store the cookies in an airtight container.

now it’s thursday. go reward yourself for making it this much closer to the weekend!!

kisses.

recipe from: averie cooks

this post is linked up to these fun link parties! what’s cooking wednesday and taste and tell thursday