Saturday, December 20, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas Cake...

Well, actually of a red velvet cake with dreamy cream cheese frosting. It's the perfect Christmas cake.

Red Velvet Cake 
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups oil
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. red food coloring 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.
3. Lightly stir eggs in a medium bowl. Add remaining liquid ingredients and whisk together until blended. Set aside.
4. Place all the dry ingredients in your mixing bowl and stir together.
5. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.
6. Pour into cake pans and then drop the pans on the counter a few times to release any air bubbles.
7. Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar

1. Sift sugar and set aside.
2. Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla. Then add the sugar in batches, scraping down the sides in between each addition.
3. Frost & decorate your cake!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Perfect Homemade Toffee

Simply elegant and yummy, toffee is the perfect gift to give this holiday. It makes the perfect hostess gift plus, it's easy to make!

Stuff You'll Need:
1 cup unblanched whole almonds
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package of good milk chocolate chips 
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

Let's Play!

1. Toast almonds in a 9x13 pan lined with foil.

2. In a 2-quart pan combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt.

3. Cook over medium high heat, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon (about 7-10 minutes) until toffee is the color of the skin of the almonds.

4. The toffee is extremely hot! Handle with care and immediately pour toffee over the toasted almonds. Use a spatula to spread toffee over almonds.

5. Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over the hot toffee. Wait a minute then spread the melted chocolate until smooth.

(Sorry, I had to work really fast during steps 4 and 5 because the toffee sets quickly. 
That's why I'm missing a couple pictures here.)

6. Sprinkle the pecans on the smooth, melted chocolate. Cool completely before breaking into yummy pieces.

Ah, yes. Perfection!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake in a Cup

For those days when you want to indulge without the hassle of making an entire cake...make this!
 It's incredibly chocolatey, rich and yummy.

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake in a Cup

Stuff You'll Need:
a cup/mug
4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten 
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 salted caramels (If you can’t find salted caramels you can sprinkle a little fleur de sel salt into the mixture as you’re dropping in the caramels).

Let's Play!

1. Mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, salt, egg, milk, and vegetable oil in a small bowl.

2. Pour mixture into your coffee cup/mug. Drop caramels into center of mixture one at a time.

3. Microwave on high for one minute and 15 seconds.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Mini Pecan Pies

When I think of pecan pie I think of the holidays. Maybe because it's that time of year to indulge in decadence with family and friends. Pecan pie is just wonderful. The filling is dark, sugary and rich and the crust is buttery and oh-so delicious. These mini versions are the perfect treat for Thanksgiving, Christmas or just about today...I already devoured 3!

Mini Pecan Pies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup flour
Nonstick cooking spray
1 large egg
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup pecans, finely chopped

for crust:

for filling:

1. With an electric mixer, beat the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese until smooth. Add the flour and beat until fully combined. Remove dough and wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with cooking spray.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.

4. Shape the chilled dough into 24 balls, about 1 inch in diameter. Press each ball into a cup of the muffin pan, spreading evenly and up the sides.

 Spoon 1 teaspoon of the pecans into each muffin cup.

Fill each cup with the egg mixture until evenly distributed, about 1 teaspoon in each.

5. Bake until the filling is set, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, and then remove from the muffin pan.

Ah, heaven in a bite!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

DIY Pumpkin Floral Arrangement

Pumpkins make great vessels for your fall flowers. They're festive and pretty. All you need is a pumpkin (carved & cleaned), a container small enough to fit inside your pumpkin and flowers!

happy arranging & happy National Pumpkin Day!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Glazed Pumpkin Donuts

Donuts that taste like pumpkin pie...need I say more?!

Pumpkin Donuts
2 cups flour
1/2 packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, soften

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a donut pan with non stick spray.

2) Stir all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda together in a bowl; add pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, and softened butter. Mix until combined, spoon batter into a donut pan.

3) Bake until donuts spring back when touched, 8 to 10 minutes.

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix confectioners' sugar, melted butter, water, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until smooth. Dip warm donuts into the glaze and let any excess glaze drip back into bowl before placing glazed donut on a cooling rack.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkins are ubiquitous this time of year (and I love it). For all you pumpkin lovers out there, now you can have the taste of fall for breakfast (or anytime) with these delicious pumpkin pancakes!

Stuff You'll Need:
1 1/4 cup flour| 1/4 cup sugar| 2 tsp. baking powder| 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon| 1/4 ground nutmeg

1 cup milk| 1/2 cup pumpkin puree| 1 egg (beaten)| 1 Tbp. vegtable oil

1. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a bowl

2. Whisk milk, pumpkin, egg, and oil together in a bowl. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Batter will be slightly lumpy.

3. Heat a buttered griddle over medium-high heat. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto the griddle and cook until bubbles form and the edges are dry, 1 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on the other side, about 1 minute more. Repeat with remaining batter.

Devour your pumpkin stack!

DIY Pumpkin Party Hats

Throw a spook-tacular Halloween party with these diy pumpkin party hats!

Stuff You'll Need:
For party hat tutorial go here!



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Woodland + Storybook Inspired 1st Birthday

I can't believe it's been a year already! My little girl's 1st birthday soiree was inspired by a combination of woodland critters and children's fairy tales (two of her favorite things). The party was set at my in-law's gorgeous property, the perfect backdrop to a whismical woodland bash, complete with a toddler friendly pool- it was 97 degrees!  It was the perfect intimate celebration with family, food and birthday cake!
Best. Day. Ever!
Invitations by tinyprints.

Cutlery in paper sacks stamped w/ a custom handmade stamp 
and place cards tied to fresh rosemary sprigs from my in-law's garden.

These lanterns doubled as table centerpieces and favors for each household to take home.

I made a teeny tiny vanilla "smash" cake for the birthday girl
and a simple double chocolate cake for the guests.

Guests also munched on caramel corn and mini caramel apples.

Custom poster w/ Emma's 1st year stats. (Infograph)
Happy birthday darling girl! Love you to the moon & back!

Styling/Photography/Design: me
Venue: Wood House
Custom Handmade Stamp: Monica Nazareno
Tassel Garland/Crown/Infograph: me
Lanterns: Ikea
Emma's Dress: Gap