Tag Archives: chocolate

Thing. Take FOUR!

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Things again.  Things it is.  And another month has passed.  Wow.

Super hot days, and getting freezing nights going on here.  Pretty crazy how things can change from day to night.

And 10 weeks of pregnancy left!  Countdown is ON!

We’ve really been having a great summer.  I’m not really looking forward to its end, but I suppose ‘all good things shall come to an end’, as they say.  Fall is great too.  Really.  Here are some pictures of what’s been going down with us:

Breakfast time with two silly boys.  Constantly making each other laugh (and making a mess doing it).

Breakfast time with two silly boys. Constantly making each other laugh (and making a mess doing it).

At a wedding.  What a handsome hubby, eh?  And a baby bump at 29.5 weeks.

At a wedding. What a handsome hubby, eh? And a baby bump at 29.5 weeks.

Flour and baby oil.  Who knew it would make 'sand' to occupy much time.  And cute aprons bought at a local craft fair!

Flour and baby oil. Who knew it would make ‘sand’ to occupy much time. And cute aprons bought at a local craft fair!  They’ve saved much mess on clothes thus far.

Things:

  1. Adam Bede, by George Eliot.  I’ve yet to finish the book, but if you like classics, and love words – grab this book.  It took me awhile to get into it, but now I’m stuck.  It’s pretty dang good.
  2. Modcloth.com.  Seriously.  Get into it.  Cute and quirky clothes, shoes, accessories, and house stuffs!   Downside=Duty taxes when shipping to Canada.  But if you can make it past those taxes, you are home free!  So much cool stuff.
  3. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Great movie.  Hubby and I rented it, not knowing if we’d enjoy it or not.  Conclusion:  We both LOVED it.  It was really great!  Hard to explain without giving away the plot, so just watch it.  It’s a really well done movie.
  4. These super easy-looking diy slippers!  What a great gift idea!
  5. The World’s Best Chocolate Oatmeal Cake.  Can you say ‘divine’?  Because that’s how to describe this.  It’s super moist, yummy cake, with an oh-so-fudge-y frosting.  I’ve made two in the last three weeks…  And it’s been raved about.
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[Another] Wedding Cake, a Gorgeous Bride, and Some Cute Boys.

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So.  As I can’t seem to post regularly, let’s just get to the point and say…  I cannot post regularly.  It seems an impossibility.  And that’s alright.  I was thinking today, one of the main reasons I started this blog, was to feel like I still had something to do and say other than babies.  It was right after Cael was born, I had just finished university, and my life had made a drastic change from university and work… to everything baby.  This blog kept me sane.  And while I still love it, and it might become a sanity-thing for me again in the future, right now it’s just a thing I do when I feel like it.  No pressure.  Anyhow.  That was my HUGE realization of the day, after feeling bad (once again), for not posting.  Ever.

Lemon curd

But here’s how I make it up to you.  With wedding cakes, wedding pictures, and the cutest boys ever!

Oh.  And some wonderful news!

Baby numero three will be joining us early November!  That was worth waiting for, eh?

Wedding cake

On to the cake.  This was for one of my best friends ever.  And she had free-reign over what kind of cake she could have.  Obviously.  She was the bride.  But this was epic.  For me anyway.  Three-tiered goodness.  Chocolate cake sandwiched with peanut butter cream cheese frosting.  Followed by white cake with a lemon curd filling.  And topped with white on white.  All completely covered in white and daisies.  Super cute, super yummy.  What more could you want?  Really.

Wedding cake

Another cool this about this wedding was that I got to travel to a warmer place.  All the way to North Carolina.  Which was pretty cool.  Actually, it was wonderfully warm.  Especially since it hasn’t gone over 10C here in weeks (except for that one random day).

Sarah and Drew

Sarah was a beautiful bride in her lovely lace dress.  So gorgeous.  Got to meet up with another best friend that I hadn’t seen in quite awhile (you’ll remember her from this wedding cake).  Which was super great.  Super duper great.

Since then, we’ve had my birthday, a trip to the zoo, and rain.

Cael

Cael found the 3D glasses from a movie. Bug eyes.

Jude

Jude eating breakfast like a champion.

And that’s that!  Maybe next time I’ll have some belly pictures and a recipe for ya!  That’d be nice, eh?  Maybe.  Here’s to hoping.

Update. And a Birthday (or Two).

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Alors.  It has been much too long since I last posted.  Which really seems to be a theme for me.  And may very well continue to be a theme.  But such is my life.  Full of procrastination and lovely things.  I believe that it was early December the last time I posted, and while I will try not to bore you with too many details, and update on life is needed!

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*Warning:  You may be bombarded with pictures in this post…*

December went by in a flash, as it is wont to do.  So much food, and great company, so many lights, presents, and giggles.  Jude loved his first Christmas, and Cael really appreciated it this year for the first time.  Christmas morning was exciting for all of us.  Not to mention how cute they were in their pajamas opening their stockings.

(Side story:  I had sewn stockings for the three of us, and had material for one for Jude.  However, the closer it got to Christmas, the more determined those stockings were to not be discovered.  So.  No handmade stockings being filled this year.  About 2 days after Christmas, guess what I found?  You guessed it.  Right [not] on time….  Story of my life.  But it’s okay.  They’re actually somewhere that I WILL find them next year.  I will.)

January brought in much more snow and Jude’s first birthday!  This little dude decided he would learn to walk that week, and he hasn’t looked back.  Watch out world.  Jude is here.  And he is 100% mobile.  We had cake and friends over to celebrate.  You’d have thought it was Cael’s birthday though, when you walked in, because he was loving the party for all he was worth.

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{Homemade Ice Cream Cake for birthday numero uno}

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February.  (How in the world is it February?!) It is flying by like every other month seems to.  My mother turned the big 5-0.  And we partied!  Surprise party, actually.  Much of that week was planning, booking a surprise flight for one of my brothers, cooking, and trying to conceal it all.  Turns out, she had no sweet clue.  We [somehow] sat 35 people in my parent’s living room for a meal, plus probably 15 kids and other adults roaming the house.  Much fun, but I was zonked when it was over.  Lots of help from my brothers and friends, which was amazing.

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{Mom’s 50th – an inferno}

The week following, was Hubby’s birthday.  A cake was baked.  And this will be the foodness I’ll be sharing.  Because I’ve made it many times before, and it’s a hit every time.  First though.  I’m super thankful for my hubby.  He is great.  The best friend ever.  Best everything ever.  And I really don’t know what I’d do without him.  Happy birthday to him!

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Now, on to the cake.  It’s a chocolate cake, coffee infused.  Sour cream frosting, also with chocolate and coffee.  It makes for a moist, deep chocolate, coffee-laden cake.  And it’s good.  The boys like it, hubby likes it, I like it.  We are all happy.

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Mocha Cake

So, the cake is actually the same as this chocolate cake, with one exception.  Instead  of the hot water, you use strong, hot coffee.

On to the frosting.  Sour cream makes for a great tang and texture.  It’s actually lovely.  And I probably ate some of it by the spoon. No, maybe not ‘probably’, more like ‘most definitely’.

Mocha Sour Cream Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 tbsp hot coffee

1/3 cup sour cream

2 cups icing sugar

Melt butter and chocolate chips on stovetop or in the microwave.  Stir in coffee and sour cream until smooth.  Add icing sugar.  This will probably be runny…  Throw it in the fridge for a bit.  Until it comes to spreading consistency.  Eat it with a spoon, or frost your cake!

Then I actually took the time to photograph it.  Which really hasn’t been happening much at all lately.

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Shout out to the doily you see:  I have a post about it here.  I just have it folded over a bit to fit the table.  Love it though.  I’m definitely going to make another.  Supplies are had, time is needed.   (Which should be my new mantra…)

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Thanks for reading!  It really feels good to be back.  And thanks to the lady who asked me recently if I’ve been writing… it inspired me.

Dark Chocolate Buche de Noel

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This post is thanks to leftovers (because technically, I should be making supper right now, but HALLELUJAH – I HAVE LEFTOVERS!  And good ones at that!), and someone who told me today she’d been reading my blog.  That does wonders for my motivation.  So does chocolate.  Dark Chocolate Christmas Logs.  In the summer.  It is only 6 months till Christmas, by the way.  You can hit me now.  I’ve been singing Christmas carols since May.  Man.  I think something may be wrong with me.  Help!

Dark Chocolate Buche de Noel

{The final product.  So good.  Seriously.}

So, I made this one ages ago, and it was sooo good.  But I have this lazy gene, and it prohibited me to take the time to write out the whole recipe…  But I’ve decided to fight that nasty gene and just do it.  It’s totally worth it.  And before you say, “Hey Kayleigh, this looks like a lot of work… I don’t have time!”, let me just tell you that yes, you DO indeed have time for this particular recipe.  Even if you don’t, you’ll find time, make time even.  Add an extra hour to your already full 24-hr day.  Do it.  Who needs sleep?  (That’s what always gets put on the back burner for me.)  This log of chocolate goodness is just yelling to be made, and more importantly, eaten.  I think I made it for Thanksgiving last year (told you it was ages ago!  Wow!), and it was enjoyed by all who ate it.  Like, more than enjoyed.  There were lots of sighs and grunts of pleasureful eating.  I might even be making up words here.  How about, plenjoyfeating (pleasure-enjoy-ful-eating)?  I think that about describes it.  Of course, if you don’t like chocolate, you may not like this (and I might not like YOU!).  Really though, I’d still like you.  I’d just wonder what part of your brain wasn’t working quite right, and if that affected any other likings to awesome food-things.

There are a lot of different steps to this recipe.  Don’t let that scare you away.  Just don’t.

Roll her up!

{Make the jelly roll cake, roll it up in a dish towel so it doesn’t crack after you fill it!}

Okay, now I’ll type out that recipe.  Please make this.  If you don’t, please call me.  I’ll make it.  You’ll come over.  We’ll plenjoyfeat it together.  Pretty please with a dark chocolate covered strawberry on top.  (I’ll take any excuse to make a dessert, really.)

Chocolate crackle.  YUM!

{Melt chocolate.  Cool it.  Crackle it!  Soooo much chocolate!}

Dark Chocolate Buche de Noel

Slightly adapted from Canadian Living Holiday Favourites 2011

Cake:

1/4 cup milk

2 Tbsp butter

3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

5 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbsp icing sugar

Place milk and butter in a bowl, and microwave until butter is melted.  Stir, keep warm.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, set aside.  Separate 3 eggs, dropping yolks and white into separate bowls.  Beat egg whites until foamy; beat in 1/4 cup sugar, about 1 Tbsp at a time, until soft peaks form.  Beat together egg yolks and remaining eggs and sugar until pale and thick enough that batter leaves ribbons on surface when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes.  Fold in egg whites.  Add flour, fold until combined.  Pour in milk mixture, fold in until blended.  Spread in 15×10-inch parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet.  Bake in 350F oven until golden and cake springs back when lightly touched, about 12 minutes.  Loosen edges with knife, and flip onto a flour-covered dish towel.  Carefully peel off paper, and roll cake, starting from the short side.  Let cool on rack.

Frosting coated!

{Make chocolate frosting and coat the cake.  So much goodness.  Don’t be perfect.  Nobody will notice that you put most of the frosting on the end that you’re going to eat…}

Icing:

1 cup margarine, softened

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 cups icing sugar

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted, and cooled

In a bowl, beat butter, slowly adding whipping cream, and vanilla.  Beat in icing sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Beat in chocolate until fluffy.

Roll it up!

{Roll it up!  It should be super easy if you rolled it up in a dishtowel earlier}

Chocolate Bark Crackle:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Melt chocolate in a double-boiler, or in the microwave, stirring occasionally.  Pour into 15×10-inch parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.  Break or tear chocolate into pieces.  Arrange on a tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm.

Add some more CHOCOLATE

{Add some more chocolate.  Why not?  You need something to stick that crackle to anyhow…}

Unroll the cake, spread with 1 1/2 cups icing.  Re-roll without towel, and place (seam down) on a serving dish.  Cover with remaining icing.  Stick chocolate crackle to the icing.  Sprinkle with icing sugar.  Refrigerate until cold.  Voila!  C’est ca!

Who else is enjoying this Maritime summer weather?  A week of gorgeous sunny, warm weather, followed by a week of dreary, cold, gray days.  Oh well.  At least it’s not all dreary.  Last week, me and my sidekick had breakfast, coffee and bubbles on the doorstep, while Daddy and Jude slept in.

Coffee and nectarines on the doorstep

I hope these days never end.  Spending time like that with my kids is amazing.  I’m super thankful that I can take the time to do that.  God pours his blessings down in so many different ways.  Amazing.  And time just goes by so fast, it’s insane.  Thanks for those long summer days.

Mommy and super boy!

Caramel Cream Cheese Torte with Chocolate Ganache

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How was everybody’s Easter weekend?  Hope it was wonderful.  Ours was great.  Busy.  Crazy busy.  But great.

Caramel Cream Cheese Torte

Starting with Friday, we had a service at our church, and a potluck, followed by a small group gathering for me and the boys that evening while hubby went to a wedding rehearsal.  Saturday was weekly breakfast at my mom’s, the actual wedding (his aunt’s – congrats guys!), and a wonderful walk with a friend.  Sunday – Church and Easter dinner.  Monday – Another Easter dinner and movie night with my guy!  It really was great.  I probably ate myself into a food coma a few times, but it was wonderful.  Lots of family and friends involved.

Nannie and Jude

{My grandmother holding Jude at Easter dinner.  My boys make her face light up – it’s so wonderful.}

We got some wonderful pictures of the boys too.  Cael did his first egg hunt on Sunday, and it was so fun to watch him!

Cael's Egg Hunt

Cael in his digs for the Sunday service.

Cael

As I said, lots of food was involved this weekend.  Both being made and consumed.  My job for the Sunday dinner, was dessert and corn.  Corn’s pretty easy, so I’ll spare those details.  But I thought you might want to know about the dessert.  I’ve been on a shortbread kick lately.  And I’m almost always on a chocolate kick.  Throw some caramel and cream cheese in there, and VOILA!  A great (calorie-free… ahem*) dessert!

Caramel Cream Cheese Torte with Chocolate Ganache

Shortbread Base

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

Mix it all together until it’s nice and crumbly and pat into a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake for about 15 minutes at 350F.  The edges should be turning a lovely light brown colour.  Like the perfect marshmallow over a campfire…  (Can you tell I’m really wanting summer to get on with it?)  Let it cool!

Light brown-edged base

Chocolate Ganache

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

2/3 cup cream (either 10% or 18% work)

1 tbsp margarine

Now, you can do this on a double boiler if that’s your cup of tea.  But mine tends to be the microwave.  Mostly because growing up we didn’t have a double boiler…  So!  Heat until the margarine is melted and it’s getting smooth.  Make sure not to burn the chocolate.  Just do it in intervals and stir in,between.  Let this cool.

Caramel Cream Cheese Layer

1 pkg cream cheese

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup caramel sauce (like Smuker’s or similar)

Beat the cream cheese until smooth, in the same bowl you made the ganache if you want…  a little extra chocolate never hurt anyone.  Like this:

Chocolate remains

Caramel Cream Cheese

Add sugar and sauce.  Spread over cooled shortbread layer.  Top with cooled ganache.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  2 hours is better.  I only found this out because I was finishing it only minutes before going to dinner.  Thank goodness people take awhile to eat their main meal, and for room in an already stuffed fridge!

Hope you all enjoy!  It really was divine.  Lots of compliments at our dinner, anyhow.

A piece

Here’s a Jude moment to make your day better – doesn’t he have a great smile?  Infectious even!?

Happy baby!

Part of the Tuesday Talent Show at Chef in Training, and Work it Wednesday at High Heels and Grills

PanCAKE

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So the past weekend was slightly insane (which seems to be the norm around here…).  It seemed like go, go, go.  But I think it was mostly my emotions being taken on a hormonal rollercoaster ride.   (ie.- I found out for sure that I’m having another baby!)  So now you know!  🙂

But truly, it was a busy weekend.  My poor mother fed me and mine 3 times in the run of the weekend, and we had 2 BBQs, so I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking.  I was in charge of dessert for both BBQs, and somehow managed to ruin both of them.  I saved them, but man…  It wasn’t a weekend for baking for me (apparently!).  Other than the meals, we went for a date on Friday, then we made a small [1 hour both ways] road trip to Costco on Sunday.  Yesterday was fairly calm.  We took Cael to the duck pond, which was fun (and sunny, which was wonderful).  And I decided to paint out a closet in our house to convert it to a bookcase.

And then there was this week…  It was just a right off.  Between being tired and nauseous (thanks to pregnancy…) and just getting the regular day-to-day stuff accomplished, let’s just say I didn’t feel overly motivated.  Anyhow!  My motivation has returned (at least for the moment) so here goes!

Found this one on Pinterest.  Loved it.  Who wouldn’t love chocolate pancakes piled on top of each other with whipped cream in between?  It’s a MUST love.  And the chocolate pancakes are great by themselves too…  (I may have possibly messed up the first few and eaten them… may have…)

Chocolate Pancake Cake

Recipe found on ZoomYummy.com  (it has been VERY slightly modified by me)

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 heaping Tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup whipping cream

4 Tbsp icing sugar

Chocolate sauce

Sliced orange for garnish (optional)

Combine vegetable oil, milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla.  Mix until combined.

Add cocoa, and stir.

Stir in flour and baking powder.  Stir until smooth.

Spray a pan with oil, (or if you don’t use spray oil, just put some oil in…).  Heat it up, and add about 1/2 cup of the batter to the pan.  I found that if you put any less than that, it was a real battle to flip the pancake without a disaster occurring.

Cook until bubbles start to form, then flip.  Once it is done (both sides should be dry, and not look batter-y), continue the same with the rest of the batter.

Let your pancakes cool, completely.

While you’re waiting, beat together whipping cream and icing sugar.  Beat until firm peaks form.

To put the cake together, simply layer pancakes and whipped cream.  If you aren’t serving it right away, keep it in the fridge.  I would wait until right before you serve the cake to drizzle the chocolate syrup and add the garnish.  (That way it looks more fresh, less mess.)

Thanks ZoomYummy for the great recipe!

I would highly advise you make this – it is super yummy.  And not too heavy either.  You could even have it for breakfast!  (Pancakes!!)

Hope you enjoy.  Have a great rest-o-the-weekend!

What’s your favourite thing to do when the weather starts to warm up?

Happy Birthday Daddyo!

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I had a great weekend.  I know this post is late in coming, but I have been feeling slightly exhausted…  So that’s my excuse.  There you have it folks, Kayleigh is exhausted.  But getting better.  🙂

Back to my weekend.  My parents went away for the night on Friday, so I was going to keep my youngest brother for the night.  I had the [brilliant!] idea of inviting his best friend over, and her little sister ended up joining us too.  So I actually had some female company for once, and we weren’t outnumbered, which was really weird, but great.

This is our story.  Friday night, we had s’mores on my new fire pit thing (that my wonderful parents-in-law bought me for my birthday) – the kids loved it.  And I LOVED watching them have fun.  They snuggled up on the driveway with blankets and roasted marshmallows and stuffed their faces.

Then we came inside and they snuggled in to watch ‘The Quest for Camelot’ (my most favourite movie ever).

Then came bedtime (midnight).  (One of my other brothers decided to crash here that night too (he was in for it… keep reading, haha)).  One slept on a couch, two on the floor, and my brother took the other couch.  I didn’t hear them at all until 7 the next morning (I got to sleep in!!).  However, my brother wasn’t quite so lucky.  Apparently, they had been awake since 5:30.

Anyhow, I got them settled into another movie (Robin Hood) and they enjoyed some ‘baby tea’** while I started cleaning up and getting ready for breakfast.   After the movie, breakfast still wasn’t ready, so they took some chalk to the driveway and coloured it up.

**Baby tea is really milked down, sugared up tea.  About 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 cup tea and fill to the top with milk.  Kids love it, and get to feel ‘grown up’ too.

Breakfast menu – Homemade waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, smoothies and perked coffee (for those old enough to have it).  Breakfast went great.

The youngest girl told me that ‘You make the best waffles ever!’  Then she thought about it for another minute, and decided she’d better not say that, so she changed to, ‘You make the second best waffles ever (after Mommy)’.

I thought it was pretty cute.  After breakfast, we went for a walk, and then made cards for my Dad for his birthday.  Then their mom came and picked them up, and I had to get started on my dad’s birthday supper and cake!  Whew.  What a day.

So – my father had a birthday and I want to share his cake with you!

He requested a Hershey recipe that he loves to make (and eat too, apparently!).

The link to the recipe is here.  I’ll type it out for you too though.  I did make a few changes to the buttercream icing, so I’ll give you my version of that.  🙂  Hope you enjoy!  The icing is amazing – just to warn you.

Oh oh oh!  And I used my Kitchen Aid Mixer for the first time ever!  It was really awesome.  I can’t wait to use it again.  I know, I know, you’re probably asking yourselves why I haven’t used it before.  Well, I am slightly old school, and a tad lazy.  Old school:  I tend to use a wooden spoon or a hand mixer for a lot of things (but I just couldn’t for cake, it needed a REAL tool).  And lazy:  I just didn’t want to drag the mixer over to my counter (it won’t reach the plug in my under-sized kitchen) and then have to clean all the parts…  *sigh.  But it was totally worth it.

Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup boiling water

I’ll give you my directions, as I make things differently than most recipes tell you to…  I just can’t follow directions!

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together sugar and vegetable oil.  Add eggs, vanilla, and salt, and beat well.  Add cocoa and boiling water.  Mix until combined.  Mix in milk.  Add flour, baking powder, and baking soda, and stir until smooth.

Pour into two 9×9 cake pans that have been greased and floured.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let them cool for about 10 minutes, and then take them out of the pans and cool them on wire racks.  Frost with One Bowl Chocolate Buttercream Icing.

One Bowl Chocolate Buttercream Icing

1/2 cup margarine, softened

2 2/3 cups icing sugar

3/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Beat butter until smooth.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and beat until smooth.  If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar, and if it’s too thick, add some more milk!  Easy as that.  Now frost that cake.
It’s sooo good.  I hope you really like it.  And I’d use the icing on just about any recipe that you need chocolate icing for – it’s super good.
Happy birthday Daddyo!
What kind of cake is your absolute fave?

Happy Birthday To MEEE!

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So, it was my birthday yesterday, and I had a request for a birthday post.  I do realize that it’s not my birthday today, so technically, this is the day-after-my-birthday post.  But I warned her that I would probably be late in doing this…  I enjoyed every second of my birthday doing other things.  🙂

{I think Cael had a good day too.}

I’m getting on in my journey towards 30, which is pretty crazy.  I had decided a long time ago, that I really wanted to reach 20, but after that, I would just stay 20 forever.  So let’s just say I’m 20.  And I’ll say that forever.  Sounds pretty good to me.  What do you think?  Will it work?  Will it have staying power?

Aging is not actually something that bothers me.  I love getting older.  And I think I always will.  It means that I’ve made it through another year.  And this past year was pretty exciting.  I had my first baby [EVER!], and we bought our first house.  I’d say that’s a fairly productive year (if you were going to ask me what I thought…).

So to my birthday!  It was awesome!  I always feel let-down by birthday (well, not always, but sometimes).  Because you wait for them all year, and then they’re not entirely awesome, and then it’s a day gone and you have to wait 365 more days until the next one.  But yesterday when I woke up, I decided that I was going to make it a good day.  It’s all about how you think, and how your heart is.  Wake up with a prayer and sunshine outside your window, and I’d say it’s going to be a pretty good day.  I got an awesome hug from my hubby first thing, and then went to my mother’s house for a shower!  For those who don’t know, we don’t have a shower at our new house, so this was a really great thing.

Then, I made the frosting and filling for my birthday cake!  Mom had already made the chocolate cake.  I made myself a hot chocolate, and helped myself to lots of the chocolate cream cheese frosting.  Then I had my dad’s amazing chili for lunch, and Cael, Mom, and I walked back to my house, stopping to visit my grandparents along the way.

Keep reading, the awesome continues.

{Don’t you love the scarf?!  It was a gift from an amazing family.}

After I put Cael down for a nap, I was going to go outside to clean up a garbage mess that some rambunctious raccoons had made through the night.  BUT, on my way down the driveway, an amazing family came barreling up in their minivan. With tidings of the best coffee ever, homemade birthday cards and origami, a present AND cookies.  Like, the best day ever, right?

Over coffee and cookies, we hung out and talked for quite awhile.  Eventually, I lost track of a few of the boys in the family, and they came in my door bearing a bag with all of the garbage!  They picked it up for me!  Yay!  So happy at this point.

Soon came suppertime at my parent’s house, with all my family, and a friend.  Do you know what the best dinner ever is (in my books)?  It consists of BBQ chicken, BBQ potato slices, vegetables, Greek salad, corn bread, and butternut squash.

{Dad makes these – my Grampie’s recipe.  Don’t they look awesome?  And my crazy little bro… haha}

Followed by my favourite cake EVER.  Let me describe this cake to you.  This chocolate cake recipe, made into three layers.  The layers are filled with whipped cream, and then the whole cake is iced with chocolate cream cheese icing.  Pretty close to perfect.  Mind you, the cake never stands up quite straight, but that does nothing to how wonderful it tastes.

Then, there were presents.  Enough said.

Around 9 o’clock, I convinced my hubby to watch a chick flick with me.  Flicked through Netflix, and chose Vanity Fair.  I must say, it was pretty good.  He was bored, but oh well.  My birthday, right?  😉  (Thanks babe for watching it with me.)

So there you have it.  That is most of my birthday summed up in, well…  I guess it wasn’t really summed up.  Quite detailed actually.  Oh well.

Here’s the recipe for the cake!

Cream Cheese Trifle Cake

One chocolate cake, made into three layers

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing (recipe follows)

Whipped Cream Filling (recipe follows)

Place first cake layer on a plate, top with whipped cream.  Repeat for next layer.  After you’ve placed your third layer on, coat the entire cake with the chocolate cream cheese icing.  The more you can slap on, the better.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing

1 pkg cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup margarine, softened

2 tsp vanilla extract

3 heaping Tbsp cocoa

3 cups icing sugar

Cream the cream cheese, margarine, and vanilla together.  Add cocoa and sugar, and beat until smooth.  Frost that cake!

Whipped Cream Filling

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1/2 cup icing sugar

Whip together until firm peaks appear.  Fill that cake!  Do it.

Enjoy.  It’s really the best thing since sliced toast bread.  (That actually went through my brain, I had to write it.  Toast is completely different from bread, right?)

30 Day Challenge

Day 4 – Your views on religion

Religion, as such, is not something I believe in.  Religion is performing acts to achieve a purpose, normally eternal peace, life, etc.  Works does not get you these things.  Obedience does not get you these things.  The sole way to salvation is through Christ Jesus; believing in Him, that He died for you, that you’re a sinner and he can reconcile that.

“I am the way the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me”  John 14:6

He is the only way.  You can never work your way into heaven.  There is no possible way we can be good enough on our own.  Only through Christ’s death and His covering of our sins, can we come to God.

Spring Cupcakes

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So, the title of this should really be – How to make a disastrous mess.  Because I did.

Man, did I ever.

And of course, who should come home to catch me red-handed in messiness?  But my hubby.

‘WHAT are you DOING?  Why don’t you put a tray underneath, so that you don’t make such a mess on the counter?’

It’s a good question really.  And the only real, true answer is…  I’m stubborn.  There you have it folks, I confess; stubborn to the bone.

You see, I tried a new icing recipe.  I’m constantly using our ‘Buttercream’ Icing recipe.  I use that about 90% of the time. So I thought I’d mix things up.  I used a royal icing.  And instead of following the recipe (as usual…) I made a few changes.  Which resulted in a runny mess of icing.  If it calls for meringue powder, use it.  Just saying.  Anyhow.  This is what I used for icing.  It worked in a sense, but not at all how I had envisioned them to be.

Royal Icing

4 cups icing sugar

2 egg whites

Water

Food colouring

Blend together the egg whites and icing sugar.  Add enough water to make the icing come together.  It should be slightly runny, but not overly runny (ie – more like molasses than oil).  Divide icing into bowls, and add food colouring, as desired.

For my cupcakes, I used this chocolate cake recipe.  It made about 2 1/2 dozen regular-sized cupcakes.

I dyed the icing four different ‘springy’ colours.  Then I bagged them (be careful if your icing is runny – it’ll run right out of the bags – no squeezing required!).  To achieve the tye-dye look, I put a circle of one colour (a 1-inch circle, filled in) on top of the cupcake.  Then I squeezed 2 or 3 other colours on top, and just let it run down the cupcakes, to create the effect.

If you’re smart, you’ll listen to hubby and put a tray underneath the cupcakes BEFORE you frost them.  But if you don’t, hey, that’s cool too.   🙂

Cael thinks they’re pretty good…

30 Day Challenge 

Day 2 – Where you’d like to be in 10 years.

Okay, so it’s most definitely time for day two of the 30 Day Challenge.  This one will be a tad more difficult than the last one… but here goes!

Realize that these are dreams, and I realized that some of them may be slightly far out…

In 1o years, I’ll be in my thirties…  man, that sounds old.  I will still be happily married, my little boy will be in the double digits, and he’ll probably have 2 or  3 (or 4?) little brothers and sisters.  We’ll be living in our house (made by us), which will have an amazingly big shower, and a kitchen with lots of counter space.  I will bake for my kids, and they’ll learn to bake with Mommy too, and love doing it (and I’ll have learned patience…  hopefully).  I’ll own a business, and bake for pay.  Yes, those are the dreams.

Where will you be in 10 years?

Velvet… {Cake}?

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When I think of velvet, I think of really uncomfortable dresses.  I’m not sure why, something from my youth triggers it, but I just can’t remember what exactly.  Anyhow.  When I put that velvet picture in my head and add the words ‘red’ and ‘cake’…..  Well, it just doesn’t seem quite right.  Downright awful actually.  But, I was wrong.  There.  I’ll admit it [for once].  I.  Was.  Wrong.


A friend asked me the other day what was so big about ‘Red Velvet Cake’.  I responded that I wasn’t sure, but I didn’t think it was anything too crazy.  So, I proceeded to look them up (I had before, but hadn’t looked at it too hard…).  Anyway, it wasn’t anything too crazy, so I thought I’d give it a try.  I found a recipe on Bakerella, but I tweaked it a tad, and made it into cupcakes instead of just a regular cake.

Red Velvet Cupcakes  (adapted from Bakerella)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp cocoa, heaping

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup canola oil

1 cup milk

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp red food colouring

Preheat oven to 350.  Pour milk and vinegar into a measuring cup, set aside for 10 minutes.  Line cupcake pans with liners.

Whisk eggs lightly.  Add remaining liquids and whisk until blended.  Stir in cocoa and sugar.  Add flour, salt, and baking soda.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into cupcake pans.  Bake for 20 minutes (or until tester inserted in middle comes out clean).

Makes 18 cupcakes.

Anyhow.  It was kind of a busy day making these.  I had two younger brothers to feed, and a baby who just loves attention.  But!  I prevailed, and they turned out pretty good I must say.

After I had delivered my cupcakes to my friend (who had mentioned them to me), I got home to less cupcakes than were there when I left.  Turns out they were too good to just look at.  An additional brother landed home while we were gone and just couldn’t help himself.

{I attempted to fill the cupcakes with the boiled icing… didn’t work too well (it’s just not the right consistency – too fluffy), but it kinda worked…}

A piece of interesting factual information for you about red velvet cakes – they are called red velvet because of their colour.  (Duh, right?)  The cake turns red because of a chemical reaction between the cocoa and the buttermilk (or vinegar).  It also turns red because of added RED food colouring.  Apparently, most cocoa used to be lighter than it is now, and it turned cakes more red, but cocoa is darker now, and while it still turns slightly brown-ish red, colouring is needed for the full effect.  You can still buy the lighter cocoa though.

{Just for extra prettiness, I put an espresso candy on top with a sprinkling of cocoa.}

I also did something different for icing.  Seven minute icing.  It’s a type of boiled icing.  And it’s pretty good.  But I’d never made one like this before.  One reason I really like it, was because you don’t need to use a double boiler (which you normally do).  But, it’s not quite the same.  (Not as good as my mother-in-laws, that’s for sure!)

Seven Minute Icing (adapted from bakedbree)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup water

Pinch cream of tartar

4 egg whites

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan, combine sugar, water and cream of tartar.  DO NOT stir.  At all.  Okay?  Bring to a boil, and boil for about 10 minutes.  While you’re waiting for that, put the egg whites and salt in a mixer, and whisk until whites are peaking.  Pour sugar water over egg whites and beat the frosting for 7 minutes (hence the name of the icing…).  Add vanilla extract.  The icing will be really nice and fluffy.  And it will taste sooo good.

I had a LOT of icing left over from the cupcakes…  And my hubby just so happens to LOVE (that’s right folks.. another baked good he’ll actually eat) chocolate cake with boiled icing.  So.  After my cupcakes were made, iced, and delivered.  .  .  .  .  .  (it took awhile)  .  .  .  .  …….  I set out to making a chocolate cake.  (Needless to say, I didn’t get a whole lot else accomplished this day!)  I made this chocolate cake recipe and slopped ALL the rest of the icing on it.  It was pretty delicious.

Notice I [attempted] to pipe the icing onto the cupcakes…  it didn’t work so amazingly well.  Boiled icing isn’t quite the right consistency… but it worked.  Just thought I’d give a warning there.  You WILL make a mess if you attempt to do that.  I would suggest using a flat spatula, and smoothing it on instead (as I did on my cake).

Anyhow.  There was my greatest adventure for the week.  (Notice I said week, not weekend.  I had quite the spree on the weekend, but we’ll talk about that later, when it’s not so fresh on my mind.)

Ever tried a red velvet cake before?