Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake + A Giveaway!

I love peanut butter.  We all know this.  I eat it by the spoonful.  It’s a problem I’m working on.

Last year, Allison and I threw a Peanut Butter Throwdown (aka an awesome party where we made crazy peanut butter sandwiches sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co.).  So to say I’m a fan of Peanut Butter & Co. is kind of an understatement.  A few weeks ago, they sent me and a few bloggers their new 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream cookbook, full of recipes featuring Dark Chocolate Dreams.

So after having the cookbook for a few weeks, eating spoonfuls of Dark Chocolate Dreams and mulling over which recipe to make, I finally decided on the flourless chocolate cake.

flourlesschocolatecakewtext

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and this is the perfect treat for you special peanut-butter-loving someone.

Dark Chocolate Dreams Flourless Chocolate Cake

from 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dream

Nonstick Cooking Spray
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder, for dusting
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
1/4 tsp salt 1 (12 oz) bag Semisweet Chocolate Chips
8 large eggs, at room temperature

Pre-heat oven to 350F. Generously spray 10 inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder.

Make a double boiled by filling a medium-sized saucepan half way with water and placing a large glass bowl on the top of the pan.  Bring the water to ta boil and add the butter, peanut butter, and salt to the bowl.  Mix until well incorporated and turn off the heat.  Add chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Remove the glass bowl from the double boiler.

Use an electric mixer to whisk eggs for 3-5 minutes or until the volume doubles.  Fold 1/3 of whipped eggs into the chocolate-peanut butter mixture and gradually add the rest of the eggs until mixture is well combined.

Pour mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the cake separate from the pan and the center is springy.  Cut and serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

flourlesschocolatecake

So in real life, I halved this recipe and put it in a 6 inch cake pan.  I still baked it for 20 minutes, and it turned out perfect.  I topped it with whipped cream and a cherry, because cherries make everything a little more special.  So if you’re looking to downsize this recipe, that’s a great option!

Ok so are you ready to try this now?

Peanut Butter and Co. is being super awesome and giving away a 31 Days of Dark Chocolate Dreams Cookbook and a 28oz Jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams to a Foodologie reader!

To enter, head over to Facebook and enter the giveaway on my Facebook page click the Giveaway tab at the top.  The giveaway is open to US Residents and will end on February 14th at midnight!

You can enter by:

You know you want some free peanut butter, especially to make this cake, because it’s delicious.  Head over to Facebook now and enter. You’ve got nothing to lose 🙂

Advertisement

First Birthday Cake

Today is my nephew’s first birthday! I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since he was born.  The kid just keeps getting cuter.

1404789_10153514358980462_1038614502_o

This past week I’ve been agonizing over the fact that I was going to make him a birthday cake.  I started feeling extremely guilty that I was going to make a 1 year old a mini birthday cake full of sugar and fat, because at this point he’s too little to actually know he wants it. Earlier this week, my guilt got the best of me and I decided I was going to make a (refined) sugar-free cake.

I tried out a recipe, and it was a flop.  The next day I discussed it with the baby-daddy (aka my brother-in-law) and he made a good point: It’s his birthday.  He’s NEVER eaten cake. He probably won’t again until his next birthday.  It’s ok for him to have cake on his birthday.

That’s when I decided to make a regular cake.  Despite the fact that I felt like I was killing his little insides and firing up a sugar addiction, the reality is, that’s probably not true.

Graham is getting this cake.

firstbdaycake

It’s the Little Banana Cake with some whipped cream as filling and icing.  I made this a few months ago, but this time even littler.  I think it’s kinda cute and I can’t wait to see him dig into it.

What do you think? Should we give One-Year-Olds a regular cake or a lower sugar version?

P.S. Obviously I don’t have kids and am not an expert. I’m just a loving aunt who doesn’t want her nephew to develop a sugar addiction.  So feel free to comment regardless of whether or not you have kids.

P.P.S. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRAHAM!

2013 Highlights

I hate to be that person, but I’m going to say it: I can’t believe 2013 is coming to a close.  Seriously, where did the year go?

I remember when I was in college, my friend Hazel would laugh at me because I recounted my days through my meals.  So in traditional Karla (Foodologie) fashion, let me recount my year by favorite things I made/ate.

In January, I was all sorts of awesome (modest, right?).  I made two of my favorite things:

BourbonBananaPie3

Bourbon Banana Pie

orangepistachiobiscotti1

Orange-Pistachio Biscotti

Seriously, those are probably my two favorite sweets I made all year.  So much so that I made them for Christmas.  After January, I had clearly eaten too much pie and biscotti so I felt the need to do a crazy thing: a 30 day paleo challenge.

30daypaleochallenge

It was a shit storm, for lack of better words.  If you want to relive that (I don’t, but that’s cool), check out these posts:

Paleo Challenge: Day 1
Paleo Challenge:
Day 2
Paleo Challenge: Day 3 & 4
Paleo Challenge: Day  5, 6, & 7
Paleo Challenge: Day 8 (Plus 1 Week Thoughts)
Paleo Challenge: Day 9 & 10
Paleo Challenge: Day 11
Paleo Challenge: Day 13 (apparently 12 doesn’t exist?)
Paleo Challenge: Ending Early  <— spoiler I quit!
Life After the Paleo Challenge

But after Paleo, I became a semi-normal person again.  I tried to make healthy things

buffalochickenspaghettisquash2

Like Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

eggplantrollstext

and Eggplant Rolls to balance out my ridiculous desire to ALWAYS eat cake

StrawberryShortcakeinaJar4

This year, I also made awesome blogger friends.  Now I can say Allison from Sweet Potato Bites and Samantha from Little Ferraro Kitchen are real life friends, which is cool!  Who wants to be real life friends next year?

(photo stolen from Sweet Potato Bites)

This year I also decided food parties were a good idea. So I started with a Fried Chicken and Waffles party.

chickenandwaffles1

Because I had never fried chicken and that seemed like a good idea.  It was.

Then Allison and I teamed up with Peanut Butter & Co and threw a Peanut Butter Party.

pbthrowdown

That was all sorts of fun.  Next year, I’d like to do a pancake party, a cocktail party and, if we get crazy, a tamale making party, because why not?

Then let’s not forget how in 2013 I became obsessed with protein powders.  And it continues because I keep putting protein powder in everything, like these pancakes

pumpkinproteinpancakes4But the highlight of the year for me was our trip to Peru

IMG_6610

We hiked, we ate guinea pig, saw llamas, walked everywhere and had a great time.  It was amazing.  I only wish it could have been longer.

Now that 2013 is almost over, I’m excited for 2014.  I hope you’ll follow me along next year as I continue to make sweets and healthy things to cut the guilt.  I promise I’ll keep the crossfit talk to a minimum and I’ll keep taking pictures of myself in dressing rooms and sharing those, like this shirt I bought yesterday…shirt

Just kidding! Well, actually, no I’ll probably still do that, but I promise one day I’ll get over that habit.

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve filled with Champagne, goodies, friends and family! I wish you the best in the New Year and thank you for following my blog in 2013!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Persimmon Crumb Cake

Hi Everyone! I’m in Peru probably avoiding altitude sickness is Cusco and on my way to Machu Picchu, but before I left, I made something to share with you.

I have some pretty awesome co-workers.  Once brought me a bag with 15 persimmons.  Isn’t that amazing? I love persimmons but $$$ and let’s be honest… the rent is too damn high to be eating persimmons all the time.

First, I used the persimmons for pancake topping.

Pancakes with Persimmon4

But sadly, he gave me persimmons just before I left for Peru so I figured a great way to give back (and use up the persimmons) was to make a delicious treat with them. If you’re looking for a wonderful afternoon tea fall crumb cake… this is the one.

Persimmon Crumb Cake1

Simple and delicious.  And I have to confess, that I ate two pieces of this when I brought it to work.  It was great with a cup of coffee in the afternoon.

Persimmon Crumb Cake3

Persimmon Crumb Cake

adapted from Real Simple Sandi Rose’s Blackberry Crumb Cake

Crumb Topping:

1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
1 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup (heaping) sugar
2 tbsp butter

For Cake:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
4-5 persimmons, chopped

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Make crumble topping by combining all ingredients.  Use your fingers to work it together til it becomes the texture of coarse crumbs.  Set aside.

Next make the cake batter.  Beat together oil and sugar.  Continue to beat and add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each egg.  Add dry ingredients as you’re beating in the dry ingredients, stir in the milk.

Pour batter into a 9inch square pan (I actually used a 9inch deep pie dish, because that’s all I had).   Sprinkle with chopped persimmons then the crumble topping. Note: some of the persimmons might sink because the batter is pretty watery, but that’s ok!

Bake 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.  Allow to cool completely, dust with powdered sugar (optional). Slice and serve!

Persimmon Crumb Cake4
Definitely a winner. Perfect for afternoon tea or when you have guests.  And the best part, if you don’t have persimmons you can pretty much sub out any fruit: apples, pears, peaches, berries, even probably bananas?

Either way, make this and have it with a large cup of coffee or tea.  I did.  It was amazing. Do it.

Persimmon Crumb Cake2

So while I’m in Peru, I don’t have time to share all this goodness with the social media world.  Do me a favor.  Tweet it. Pin it. Facebook it. Tell the world about the magic of persimmon cake!  In the meantime, I’m going to hike a mountain and eat some guinea pig (well… we’ll see)…

Also don’t forget The Refugee Auction is ending soon! Don’t miss out on your chance to bid on some Foodologie treats just for you!  Check it out here!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?  We all have them, because these days… it’s so much easier to Google than to search through an array of cookbooks.

Me and half of America have Smitten Kitchen as our go-to blog for recipes.  I haven’t made too many things, because most of the time I like inventing things but I’ve made a few and every one is great.

This past week I was dogsitting…

and had a massive zucchini from the garden to use.  First I made an zucchini mozzarella bake, which I will tell you about soon, but there I still had about 1/3 of the zucchini left.  I’m telling you this thing was the size of a small animal (probably roughly the size of the two pugs above). I wish I had taken a picture of it.

So with 1/3 of an enormous zucchini sitting on the counter as two pugs stared at me, naturally, I turned to Smitten Kitchen for direction.  Now, I have to tell you… I’m a terrible person.  I never actually read her blog posts.  I only ever look at the pictures and recipes.   Does anyone else do that?

We all have different motivations for following blogs, right? For me, Smitten Kitchen is all about pictures and recipes.

So back to Zucchini.  I made zucchini bread, because I was feeling traditional.

zucchinibread1

I usually never do this, but I actually followed this recipe pretty much to the T (but omited the nuts and added chocolate chips).  I chose to add chocolate chips because for some reason chocolate and zucchini sounds like a natural combination.

zucchinibread2

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

from Smitten Kitchen

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

*Note: I didn’t measure the zucchini so I actually think I added more like 3 cups

Line two loaf pans with parchment paper.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, beat together eggs, oil and sugar.  Once combined, add zucchini and vanilla extract.  Stir to combine.  Add dry ingredients and chocolate chips.  Stir until just combined.  Pour batter into two loaf pans.

zucchinibreadbatter

Bake about an hour (mine took about an hour and 10 minutes, remember all ovens are different).

Allow to cool completely.  Then remove from pan (parchment paper makes it super easy to pull out of the pan).  Slice and serve.zucchinibread3

I took these two loaves to work and they were gone in a day.  That’s probably because I ate half of it on my own.  It was pretty delicious. The loaves are sort of dense, but super moist, which is always appreciated.

Normally I hate chocolate chips in quick breads, but this was fantastic.  If you ever put chocolate chips in my banana bread or pancakes, we won’t be friends anymore, but in zucchini bread… bring it on!

So there you have it.  Sometimes you need a go-to blog for a recipe.

What’s your go-to blog for recipes?  Are there any blogs you read solely for pictures and recipes?

Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar

It’s almost summer, you know what that means?

Summer means that everyone and their mother is making strawberry shortcake.  Why don’t you take a ride with me on the strawberry shortcake wagon, but with a twist of Foodologie.

StrawberryShortcakeinaJar4

That’s code for take something sweet and put it in a jar.  I love things in jars…

piesinjars

Pies in Jars

bdaycakeinjar3

Birthday Cake in a Jar

coconutcurrystew

Coconut Curry Stew in a Jar

strawberrybasilginandtonic2

Cocktails in jars: Strawberry Basil Gin and Tonic

The list goes on really.  But aside from the hipster-y “cute” factor of a jar, I find them to be extremely functional.  They’re sturdy and portable.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dropped jars, thrown them into bags.  They just don’t break.  It’s great.

So let’s go back to strawberry shortcakes.

StrawberryShortcakeinaJar2


They’re one of those appealing desserts because they’re simply delicious.  Everyone seems to have a way to make them.  Some people use biscuits, some use pound cake, others use angel food cake.

I like to use plain yellow cake (specifically this recipe for Moist Yellow Cake from Epicurious).  It’s lighter than pound cake but denser than angel food cake.  It’s really just all sorts of amazing.

Here’s what you need:

That’s a pretty short list of ingredients for such a fantastic dessert.  The beautiful thing about making them in jars is that they’ll pretty much look cute no matter what you do.

StrawberryShortcakeinaJar1


Wash and slice your strawberries.  Remember these are going in jars, so you want to cut them into small pieces.  Toss with sugar and lemon juice.  I eyeball the sugar, about 1/4 cup for every cup of strawberries.  If you like them sweeter, add more sugar.  Remember this is all about how it tastes best for you. Let the strawberries sit (macerate, if you want to get technical) for 15-20 minutes so they let out all those wonderful juices and you get strawberry saucy goodness (yes, saucy goodness is a legitimate culinary term).

Next whip your cream.  I don’t like mine too sweet.  I add a few tablespoons of sugar for each cup of whipped cream, and about 1/2 a tsp of vanilla.  Once your whipped cream is mixed, transfer it to a ziploc bag.

Now you can assemble.  Take your cake and break it up into little chunks. Place some in the bottom of your jar, next put a few spoonfuls of strawberries in there, press down with a spoon.  Next the whipped cream.  Cut off a corner of the ziploc bag so you have a piping bag of sorts.  Pipe some whipped make sure to get it one the edges so it looks nice.  Then repeat (be sure to press down the cake so more fits in there!).  Depending on how big your jars are and how thick your layers are, you might be able to do 2 or 3 layers.

StrawberryShortcakeinaJar3

Serve or put a lid on them and take them to go!

I wish I had eaten these on a picnic in a park or on the beach, because that really would have added to the full effect of it all.  They’ll just have to go on the menu for my next picnic.

What’s your favorite summer dessert?

Banana Birthday Cake for My Mom

Today is Memorial Day, but it’s also my mother’s birthday.  While you’re all probably grilling and pie-making, I made a cake to celebrate a very special lady.

IMG_3156

My mom claims to not like cake and dessert, but really I know she’s just picky.  She loves certain desserts and she loves everything banana.  No crazy combinations here, because of her picky palate, I went the simple route.

I made a simple banana cake like the little banana cake I made before (recipe doubled for a full cake), but with a few changes to the filling

bananabirthdaycakeassembly

I whipped up a ton of whipped cream with sugar and a touch of vanilla for filling and frosting, fried some bananas with rum and added some slivered almonds.

bananabirthdaycake2

and ta-da! A birthday cake just for my mother.  I added some fresh flowers for a pop of color.

bananabirthdaycake1

Happy Birthday Mom!

Is your mother picky about desserts like mine?  I feel like that’s one thing my children will never have to worry about.  I’ll pretty much enjoy anything.

Epic Banana Bundt Cake

I’ve rewritten this post about three times, trying to come up with something as epic as the recipe to come.  But I can’t.  My brain is asking me for a rest.

Between work and blogging, my creative juices are dried up, in terms of writing that is.  Because recipes… I’ve got sooooo many for you to look forward to.  But first let’s talk about bananas.

I’m a banana fiend.  I eat one daily.  I learned it from my mother, she probably eats two daily.  That’s ok.

Bananas are on the top of my list of things I think are out of this world, let’s talk about my other favorite thing on the planet: cake.

And combine the two… Banana Cake! Why not?  In fact, this cake was so good it had to be made twice.  It really was THAT good.

bananabundtcaketextjpg

Ok I’ll be honest.  I really made this twice, because the first time around I hated my pictures.  It was a labor of love (or gluttony or vanity?) to make it again, but that just means I know the recipe is extra perfect for you.

I know everyone and their mother has a recipe for banana cake (and no, this is NOT banana bread).

Even if you think it looks similar, trust me.  This is definitely banana cake.  What’s the difference?

Texture.  Banana bread is dense.  This is lighter, and it has an icing.  Icing goes on cake.  True story.

bananabundtcake8

Epic Banana Bundt Cake

2 cups + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon plus pinch of salt
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, very ripe and mashed
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1 package vanilla instant pudding (3.4 oz)

Icing/Glaze:
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp heavy cream (or milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1-2 tsp of water for thinning, if necessary
Pre-heat oven to 350F.
In a bowl, sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  Grease and flour a bundt pan (or any other pan you choose to make this in, I’ve also made this in two 9 inch pans, baking times adjusted).
Using a mixer beat together sugar and oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time until fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Beat in vanilla and bananas.  Start adding some of the flour mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, alternating adding milk.  Once all the flour is in the batter, beat in the instant pudding.  Once combined, pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
Bake 45 minutes.  Then turn the oven down to 325F and continue to bake until golden and cooked through (usually another 15-20 minutes, but this will depend on your oven).  Once fully baked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
Once cooled, make glaze by combining all ingredients.  The pour glaze over cake.
bananabundtcake7
I didn’t actually pour, I did the spoon/drizzle method, because I think it looks better than pouring.
Serve and enjoy!
bananabundtcake6
This cake goes great with a cup of coffee and a good book.  It’s also fantastic served to a friend with a little bit of gossip.
Truth be told, I’m not sure if I’m half monkey or something, but I want to keep making this cake, over and over and over.  It’s a good idea, because I seriously think this might be my new favorite cake.
Stay tuned for lots of good new recipes and other fun things… like maybe some trip planning.  How does that sound?

Layer Cakes: Tips, Tricks and Recipes

I love cake. and pie.  Cakes and Pies.

Ok but really I think cakes are awesome.  I also think they’re super labor intensive so I get why people buy them instead of make them, but I really think more people should take up cake making.

This past weekend, I made three layer cakes.

birthdaycake1

So from my experience of making three cakes in a row, I wanted to share with you a few tips and tricks to making the perfect layers cakes, along with some of my favorite cake recipes.

1. Use the right cake pans.

I used to have these fancy cake pans from Sur La Table, and I’ll be honest… they sucked.  My cakes were always uneven.  First I thought my oven temperature was just weird, but then I moved and my cakes were still crooked.  So I bought new cake pans.  I bought the cheap Wilton ones at Michael’s (I say cheap because I never walk into that store without a 40% off coupon), and my cakes are perfectly even now.  So my tip: go for aluminum cake pans!

2. Parchment paper IS your friend and always grease and flour your pans.

cakepans

Wouldn’t it suck to do all that work and have them stick to the pan?  Yes.  It’s happened to me, and it sucks.

Ever since, I will never make a cake without parchment paper.  Honestly, my least favorite part of making cakes is this step.  I feel like I’m in kindergarten cutting out parchment paper circles.  But it’s a must.  Just do it.

3.  Bake in advance and freeze.

My cakes were all for Saturday and Sunday.  I started baking on Tuesday.  A cake sitting out from Tuesday til Saturday would be dry and gross, but a cake wrapped in parchment paper, double wrapped in plastic wrap then frozen, is still great for the weekend.  The trick is to make sure the cake is completely cooled before you freeze it.  You can flash cool it on a cooling rack in the freezer, but before you wrap it up.  Just make sure it has cooled completely before you wrap it up, if not you’ll get condensation that freezes into ice.  Not cute.

4. A cake without a filling is no fun.

One of the cakes I made was lemon cake with a raspberries and cream filling.  The others were chocolate and banana cakes with peanut butter filling.   Feel free to make your fillings a day or two in advance, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

5. Leveling the cake is important

I finally broke down and bought a cake leveler.  It’s a good idea to level the cakes before you freeze them.  The leveler is basically a metal wire, it’s not super strong and probably won’t cut through a frozen cake.  You can also just use a knife…

6.  ALWAYS do a crumb coat

crumbcoat

A fine layer of frosting before you actually frost is essential.  It holds it all together and prevents you from getting a crumby cake.  If your crumb coat is going on a frozen cake it’s even easier because the crumb coat gets firm faster.  Once you’ve got a crumb coat, stick the cake in the freezer for a few minutes to let the coat harden before you frost.  EXTRA: Put pieces of parchment paper under the cake so you don’t have to worry about a dirty plate/dish.  You just pull out the pieces when you’re done frosting and you have a clean plate/cake circle!

7.  Use a long knife to frost

layercake1

I’m not fancy.  My cakes aren’t perfect, but I think they do the job.  I don’t have all those fancy spatulas you can buy to frost cakes.  I use the 8″ slicer knife that came in my knife block.  It’s not serrated and it’s long.  Gets the job done.  A small butter knife makes it hard to get smooth edges all around, so I recommend a long knife.

8.  Use cake circles and boxes

birthdaycake3

To make your cakes go from homemade to slightly fancier, go to Michael’s or any cake supply store and buy cardboard cake circles and a box.  I took one of the cakes to a restaurant and the waitress was surprised to find it was homemade.  On that note, if you go to a birthday dinner at a restaurant, call ahead and make sure they don’t charge you to cut the cake.  I had heard of corkage fees but never of cake cutting fees.  Apparently it’s a thing in Hollywood.  Just saying.

Remember, no matter what your cake looks like, it should taste great.  So on that note, here are some of my favorite cake recipes:

  • Hershey’s Chocolate Cake: This is my go to chocolate cake recipe.  I follow it exactly and it never fails.
  • Epicurious Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: This recipe is great!  I make a few changes everytime, usually adding more liquid.  Today, I made a super variation of it, blog post on that coming soon!
  • Epicurious Moist Yellow Cake (I easily turn this into a lemon cake by replacing half buttermilk with lemon juice, adding some lemon zest and a pack of lemon jello instant pudding)
  • Rum Layer Cake:  This cake is probably one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made.  Everyone loves it.  It’s just plain tasty.

As for fillings, which per #2 is essential, get creative.  Here are some ideas I love:

  • Mix lemon curd with cream cheese and whipped cream for a quick and delicious lemon mousse filling.  Throw some fresh raspberries in the mix and it’s a perfect filling for a lemon cake.
  • Chocolate Ganache is always a winner.  Try adding orange zest or passionfruit puree to it to spice up your normal chocolate cake
  • Whipped Cream: Sometimes you just need simplicity.  Whipped cream in the middle of a fluffy cake is divine.  Try it.
  • Mix peanut butter, cream cheese, condensed milk and whipped cream for a delicious peanut butter mousse filling.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Amazing.  Just try it.

Remember these tips next time a birthday, party, holiday rolls around.  Making cakes doesn’t have to be crazy hard.  It can be super fun!

What’s your favorite cake combination?

I’m currently a huge fan of banana cake with peanut butter filling and cream cheese frosting!

Hot Air Baloon-themed Baby Shower

I totally forgot to tell you all about something.  If you follow me on Instagram, you might notice that I keep posting pictures of a baby.

That’s Graham.  My nephew.  He’s so stinkin’ cute.

photo-9

Sometimes he matches my boyfriends.  They’re both pretty stinkin’ cute.

But before Graham was born, I threw a baby shower for my sister, in anticipation of Graham.  That’s what I forgot to tell you about.

welcomebaby

It was cute and hot air ballooned theme, with lots of ideas from Pinterest.  So in case you’re looking to throw a baby shower, here are some ideas.

hotairballoondecorations

Paper lanterns with cardboard take out containers make great hanging decor.   And obviously, you need a lot of food…

foodtablebabyshower

We had fruit salad, green salad, as well as sandwiches, appetizers, and guava and cheese pastries from Porto’s Bakery, a cake and cupcakes.

IMG_1281

The cake almost looked awesome, but I’ll be honest the bakery we got it from pretty much sucked.  The fondant cracked a bunch and when I called to complain, they didn’t really want to listen to my complaint.  Bad service for an over priced cake.   But aside for them blah cake, there were awesome cupcakes made by me.

OreoPops

And oreo truffle pops.  If anyone’s interested, I can remake these and give a tutorial on how to make them look cute.  Any takers?

In addition to the food, we set up a welcome table

advicetable

which included a guest book and a Fujifilm Instax Mini.  Guests took a picture of themselves, then filled out a card with wishes for the baby (which I got on Etsy in case you’re interested)

IMG_1310

Then they put their photo next to their completed card in the album!

IMG_1394

It worked out well!

The center pieces were simple, candles with red flowers to fit the red and blue theme.

IMG_1324

And of course, the favors were pies in jars made with lots of love from Foodologie.

IMG_1347

Pinterest made planning this baby shower fun, but also a little more stressful.  I think Pinterest raises everyone’s expectations of what an event should be.  What do you think?  Does Pinterest give you unrealistic expectations about parties?

I can’t even imagine what my wedding would be like!

Do you have any events coming up?  Are you using Pinterest to plan?