Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chocolate Gingerbread Cake

Every year I give myself permission to try a fabulous new recipe for our Baby Jesus Birthday cake.  
This year I decided on the cover feature from Southern Living magazine:  Chocolate Gingerbread Cake.

Each layer of this cake is elevated to a higher level of deliciousness.
The cake is swimming with melted chocolate chips, molasses and classic gingerbread spices.

The chocolate ganache filling is made with semi-sweet chocolate and sweetened condensed milk.
Top that with sweet and crunchy toffee bits.

Add another layer of cake and repeat.

This ultra delicious silky sweet cake is topped with whipped cream and garnished with gingerbread cookies.

You can find the complete recipe over at Southern Living and meet Lynn Brown, the recipe contest winner! 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Silent Night, Holy Night

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

With Love,

Friday, December 23, 2011

Chocolate Bites with Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting


It's December 23rd, and I've just been to Costco, Target and the grocery store. Me and everyone else on this planet! Although everyone is scrambling, I just wanted to share one more super easy festive Christmas treat. Go ahead. Grab a cake mix or a box of brownies, but top it with this delicious peppermint cream cheese frosting.

This frosting reminds me of the creamy peppermint candies that my aunt and uncle had at their Christmas wedding. I'm pretty sure that I ate at least a dozen of them. I was only five or six, but I can still remember that delightful ambrosia!

Use a large star tip for piping and garnish with peppermint bark or peppermint Hershey kisses! People will think that you slaved all day!

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting

1stick of butter
8 ounces cream cheese
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
pinch of salt

Cream together butter and cream cheese.  Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.  Continue mixing.  Add peppermint oil and salt.  Pipe onto brownie bites or mini cupcakes.  Garnish with peppermint Hershey kisses or peppermint bark.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Elf Mischief

Do you have little elves at your house?  Not the helpful kind of elves that mysteriously check jobs off your to-do list or clean your house for you while you're out, but elves that come to life and play while everyone is sleeping? We do. We have a bunch of them and boy have they been busy!

Here they are playing Candyland with real candy!

Making snow angels in a bag of marshmallows....

..... sledding down the stairs......

.....on cookie sheets and toilet paper!

Next year I am definitely requesting the helpful kind.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Strawberry Santa Hats

Red Velvet is a classic southern cake and I was thrilled to have it selected for the Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Club this month!  Red Velvet cake is essentially a moist light chocolate cake infused with red color and topped with cream cheese icing.  Yumm!!

Although Martha's recipe looked fantastic just the way it was, I had to start with a few substitutions:  White Whole Wheat Flour (it's better for you, and you can really not tell the difference!), dark cocoa (because that is what was in my pantry) and Beets. Yes, you heard right.  The only reason I have not made a red velvet cake before is because it sort of freaks me out to put an entire bottle of red dye no. 40 into a single recipe of cake.  The side bar of the cookbook, however, mentioned that some bakers use beet juice instead of red dye.  A natural food color sounded much more appealing!

I started with two tablespoons of beet juice (NOTE:  Get cooked beets, NOT pickled beets!).

Two tablespoons, I decided, was not red enough.

I decided to put the entire can of beets and juice in the blender.

Slowly, I added the pureed beets little by little into the batter.  
After the entire can of beets was in it, it looked like this.
I was slightly hopeful, thinking it had a bit of a garnet hue.

Here's the finished cake.  Not very red, but very delicious!
Amazingly, none of my taste testers could perceive any beet flavor!
The cake is made with buttermilk and oil and is very moist.
I do believe the color would have been evident had I used regular cocoa powder instead of the dark.

I've seen these cute little strawberry Santa hats on line and thought they would be a great topper to a Red Velvet Cupcake.

A delicious and festive cake.  Thanks to Cindy at Everyday Insanity for this great holiday selection!

You can find this delicious recipe on Martha Stewart's Website HERE!