Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day Cake

It's been months since I've made a cake, so I decided to make one for Valentine's Day. I made a simple chocolate cake and filled it with whipped ganache and iced it in traditional vanilla butttercream. Can we say decadence?!

For the cake I used my favorite Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake.

Whipped Ganache Cake Filling
Source: Martha Stewart

16 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 cups heavy cream

*Note - I halved this recipe to fill one medium sized cake. It worked perfectly and was just enough to fill the cake with.

Place the semisweet chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in heavy-bottom pan over medium-high heat; pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 10 minutes; use rubber spatula to stir until smooth.

Let chocolate mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Place mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until ganache holds its shape and is slightly lightened in color.

Easy Vanilla Buttercream
Source: Food Network


3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream

*Note - I doubled this recipe which made a perfect amount to ice and decorate a medium cake.

In a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies

I've had these brownies bookmarked for ages now, but have not made them because my husband doesn't like peanut butter and chocolate together (freak!). So since he was on a diet and I was craving a sweet, I pulled the recipe from the archives and I'm very glad I did! These were fantastic, I loved the peanut butter filling especially. The brownie was good, but was a bit cake like for me personally. Next time I'd omit an egg to make them a bit fudgier. But all in all, these were delicious and absolutely hit the spot!

Source: Martha Stewart


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, plus more for pan
2 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang. Butter lining (not overhang).
  2. Make batter: Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
  3. Whisk granulated sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs, and whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add flour mixture; stir until well incorporated.
  4. Make filling: Stir together butter, confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, salt, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth.
  5. Pour one-third of batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Drop dollops of peanut butter filling (about 1 tablespoon each) on top of batter, spacing about 1 inch apart. Drizzle remaining batter on top, and gently spread to fill pan. Drop dollops of remaining filling on top. Gently swirl peanut butter filling into batter with a butter knife, running the knife lengthwise and crosswise through layers.
  6. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Rapsberry Buttercream

One of my first pregnancy cravings was chocolate cake. Since I didn't have it in me to make an entire cake, I thought I'd do cupcakes and boy did they hit the spot! I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe and made a very simple buttercream to top them. I'd like to say I shared these, but I totally didn't. :)


Source for Cake- Hershey's
Source for Buttercream - Apple A Day

1 recipe chocolate cake, I used this one

20 TBSP (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/8 tsp. salt
1 TBSP raspbery liquer of 1 1/2 tsp. raspberry extract (I used the extract...obviously)
2 TBSP water, if necessary
gel food coloring, if desired


Make cupcakes as per recipe directions. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the Buttercream

1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about 20 seconds.

2. Add confectioners' sugar and salt. Beat at medium-low speed until most of the sugar is moistened, about 45 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and beat at medium speed until the mixture is fully combined, about 15 seconds.

3. Scrape bowl, add liquer or extract, and beat at medium speed until incorporated, about ten seconds. If using gel food color (I used a few drops of liquid food coloring) add at this time.

4. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about four minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Add water to achieve desired consistency, if needed. Ice cupcakes as desired.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ganache Filled Cookies

These cookies are a wonderful twist on a classic chocolate chip cookie. They take a bit longer to make than a normal chocolate chip cookie, but overall they are straightforward, easy to make and wonderfully delicious. A great concept and wonderful cookie, these are certainly a fun way to reinvent a classic.

Source: Sing for your Supper

1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough, without the chocolate chips (any recipe you want)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup (approx. 6 oz.) chocolate chips
pinch of sugar
salt for sprinkling (I omitted)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat heavy cream and sugar in a small pan over medium heat until boiling; pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for a few seconds then stir to combine. Chill for at least one hour.

Make the cookie dough according to desired recipe. Chill.

To assemble: using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out some dough (a small amount. My first batch I made the size of a normal cookie but after I baked it it got HUGE. So definitely make the pieces of dough on the small size) and liberally sprinkle your palm with flour- flatten the dough on the palm of your hand and place a small spoonful of ganache in the center. Cover with another piece of flattened dough and seal the edges (you’ll have a small disk), then gently roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place each cookie at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown. Makes aprox. 30 cookies.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's been 3 months...

It's been just about 3 months since I've posted anything. Huh. I wonder what could have prevented me from cooking/blogging for 3 months....

I'll give you a hint.

And no, those are not two pictures of the same baby.

I'm pregnant with twins!!!! A little over 17 weeks to be exact, and the babies are doing great!

First trimester morning sickness was a nightmare. Not to be too graphic, but I was throwing up everything I put down and lost around 10 lbs. I tried to continue to blog but it was too hard. I didn't even start cooking again until just recently.

And while morning "nausea" is still lingering, I'm feeling better by the day and am getting back in the kitchen! I certainly can't promise that I'll be posting with any sort of frequency, but I'm doing my best and definitely want to continue with my blog.

Thanks for hanging in there with me, and again my apologies for my prolonged absence!

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