STRAWBERRY BIRTHDAY CAKE WITH ALMOND BUTTERCREAM

April 23, 2017

Fresh strawberry cake is hard to come by — most of the recipes I’ve seen use Jello which is kind of weird in my opinion. Sour cream and a fresh strawberry puree makes this cake so deliciously *moist*. I know that word has mixed reviews but like, why? How else can you describe a perfectly baked cake? *shrugs shoulders*

I made this cakey for my sissy’s birthday. This is my second(!) homemade cake and I think I’m slowly turning into a cake lady. You know — the lady who always brings the cake. The cake lady.

Cake makin’ is like anything else — it takes practice. I read dozens of recipes and watched probably 100 YouTube videos and still — my cake lopsided and my kitch a hot mess. Thank goodness I have a personal dish washer. Haha. What I learned about cake making so far >> 1. Make cakes the night before. It’s less stressful (IMO) to let them cool overnight rather than anxiously wait for them to be ready to frost. 2. American buttercream is easy AF. Pretty much my go to frosting at this point in my cake makin’ career. 3. Get a bench scraper — doubles as a frosting-smoother. 4. Use *good* vanilla. No, seriously — use good vanilla. It matters.


STRAWBERRY CAKE WITH ALMOND BUTTERCREAM

Cake:
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extrat
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups fresh strawberry puree
Few drops of red food dye
1/2 cup sour cream
3 cups cake flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Frosting:
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two eight-inch cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment and lightly grease the tops of the parchment. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Add extracts, strawberry puree, red food dye and sour cream, beat until just combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour evenly into cake pans and bake until toothpick tests clean, about 30-35 minutes. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes and then turn onto lightly greased cooling wrack.

Once the cakes are cooled, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have time for that, place cakes in the freezer for 10 minutes while you make your frosting — this will help minimize crumb happenings when frosting.

While the cakes cool — get started on the frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter on medium until smooth and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula and add extracts and salt. Beat again for about 1 minute. Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary, until fully combined. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 6-8 minutes until light and fluffy.

When your cakes are fully cooled do yourself a solid and level them (clearly I did not and have a lopsided cake). Lol. Place the first cake on your stand and spread a thick layer of frosting on top — I used about 1 cup. Place the second layer on top and use an offset spatula to frost all over. Use a bench scraper to smooth and decorate with strawberries. Happy cake-ing!

Makes one, two-layer, eight-inch cake

VEGAN MAC + CHEESE

April 9, 2017


This is kind of spring-y! Vegan mac + cheese for you non-dairy eaters! I love cheese!!!!!!!!! Like, so much. So much as in B + I have had conversations about what cheese you would pick if you could only eat one cheese for the rest of your life — it was pretty heated.

So much as in my Twitter handle is cheesegirl911…

Some people can’t have cheese (so sorry) or don’t want to have cheese for whatever reason. Thank goodness cashews are kind of cheese-y. If you are a real cheese connoisseur, you would probably say something like “it’s not the same, but it’s still v v good”.  If I was vegan, couldn’t have cheese for the rest of my life, or wanted to lay off the saturated fats, I would be v satisfied with this mac + cheese.

I made this for my friends when they had a tough week (to say the least). Food always makes me feel a little better and really is the only way I knew how to help. Sometimes there’s nothing you can say or do to make it better but I was hoping a dish of vegan mac + cheese said, “I’m here for you guys.” If you are reading this — please consider supporting a wonderful family by donating here.

I can’t take full credit for this one — though I did make a few tweaks, I mostly followed this recipe from Pinterest. You should try it, it’s really really good.

For the love of cheese,
M

VEGAN MAC + CHEESE

Cheese sauce:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp Dijon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
Juice of 1 lemon, about 3 Tbsp
3/4 cup vegetable stock

12 ounces pasta of choice, I used this brand because Queen Vegan told me to!

Topping: (optional but kind of major)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1/4 tsp salt and a few turns of black pepper

1 Tbsp olive oil

This recipe is easy peasy. Boil your water — cook pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Blah Blah Blah. While your pasta is going, heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with olive oil. Throw all cheese sauce ingredients in your blender and let that baby rip for 1-2 minutes or so until smooth and creamy. When the pasta is done, drain and toss with a bit of olive oil to ensure the elbows don’t stick together.

In a large mixing bowl (or the pot you used to boil your pasta #saveadish), toss elbows with cheese sauce and transfer to prepared baking dish. To prepare the topping, combine bread crumbs, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and spread evenly over macaroni. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more until GBD. Enjoy!

Serves 4-6

ROASTED MUSHROOM + TOMATO QUICHE

March 29, 2017

I’m super proud of this one! I’ve never made a pie crust before. It definitely takes some practice but we got it! As you can see, this is a v v v rustic looking quiche but that’s more or less the beauty of it IMO.

My first attempt was a major fail — I tried to make a healthy-ish-?er version with almond flour but ugh, I should know better. Almond flour most definitely does not behave like APF. It is essentially ground up almonds (which we all know are high in fat) so basically what had happened was the dough just dripped off the sides of the pan and never came together. Ugh. Such a waste of a stick of butter. Continue Reading

PALEO BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

March 25, 2017

These aren’t your standard bb muffin. They are grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free blueberry muffins so I guess they fall under the ‘paleo’ category. I have been experimenting with grain free baking again ever since my short stint with Whole 30. Lol. Confession: I didn’t make the whole 30 days. Technically.

Honestly, it was too restrictive for me. I thought I was an all or nothing kind of gal but turns out completely restricting food groups made me crave/want/need/obsess over them even more. I totally get it though. You’re hooked on sugar and carbs and you need a reset. Which I completely did. But after 18 days or so, can’t remember exactly when I threw in the towel, I was detoxed and just…sad. I wanted to make healthy gf pancakes. I wanted to have a glass of red with my fiancé on datenight. I also really wanted a GD slice of pizza.

And that’s what we did. B took me to our fav pizza place in New Haven, ordered 2 small pies and enjoyed every last bite. And to be honest, the next day, I was back to (mostly) grain free. I followed a paleo diet for a while in the past and forgot how great I felt. My workouts are better. I’m more satiated throughout the day. Sleeping more soundly. Clearer skin. Less bloat. But the thing is, like I’ve said before, I don’t want to live a life without pizza. And that’s what it’s really all about for me…moderation. It’s always been about moderation.

So yay Whole 30 (?18) you helped a chick kick her sweet tooth (for now) but you best believe I’ll be back for you doughnuts. In the meantime, I hope to get back to my old healthy-ish baking ways. Lay off the processed carbs and eat more good for ya fats. Until March 30th, bc it’s my sissy’s birthday and we’re having cake. With real sugar. And probably some ice cream.

PALEO BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (careful, if your almond butter is salted you should ixnay)
3 eggs
1 cup almond butter
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin tin. << Crucial step as blueberries tend to stick and ruin your perfect muffys. Whisk flour, flax seed, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl breaking up any large clumps. In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk eggs, almond butter, oil, honey and vanilla extract. Add wet ingredient to dry ingredients and gently mix with a silicone spatula until just combined. Batter will be thick. Carefully fold in blueberries and scoop batter into prepared pans to about 3/4 the way full. I use an ice-cream scoop to get even muffs. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick tests with few crumbs, about 25 minutes.

Makes 12-15 muffins

BLIZZARD BEEF STEW

March 14, 2017

It’s been so long!! Beans is officially back in action bc I ran out of money to spend on furniture. Lol kidding but not.

We’ve been in our new home for almost 2 weeks now and we are sort of semi-settled. I mean, besides the never-ending to-do list that I hear is pretty standard with homeowner-?ship, we are here! It still feels so unreal. Like we pull up and sit in the car for a sec and we’re like this. is. ours. We can put hundreds of holes in the walls and paint the door pink if we wanted to! No really, I’m thinking a blush pink front door. Is that cool or no?? Continue Reading