Delicious Snickerdoodles

A few weeks ago, I realized I eat salads pretty much every day for lunch and for a minute that depressed me.  When you work in an office full of people who buy delicious smelling take-out everyday, eating a salad with some sort of protein, olive oil and lemon daily gets a bit depressing.  Really it’s all a question of comparison.

But then I remember all the reasons I eat salads: health, tastiness, cost-effectiveness and of course, vanity– salads keep me in shape.

But that got me thinking: if I were a “naturally thin” person would I eat out all the time? Would I still go to crossfit?

I posed this question to my friend and her response was “But you love salads! You ate them every single day in school.”

Umm yeah, no.  I’ve deluded myself (and led others) to believe that I love salad.  I like salads just fine, but I don’t love salad.  I love cookies. And pie.

But I make myself eat salad.  Because being an adult means doing things you don’t love in the name of health.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing.  So I eat a ton of vegetables and I go to crossfit.  I genuinely enjoy crossfit but I also genuinely enjoy my bed at 5:20am when my alarm goes off.

Vegetables and exercise are important.  But let’s also remember that women cannot live on vegetables alone (although I know many try).  Sometimes we just need a dang cookie.  So I have one for you today.

This isn’t my recipe, but it’s a recipe that is awesome so I have to share it with you. If you’re looking for an awesome snickerdoodle recipe, look no further.  I’ve got you covered.

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Delicious Snickerdoodles

adapted from All Recipes

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 400F. Cream together butter, shortening and 3/4 cup sugar.  Beat until fluffy.   Add egg and vanilla and beat another minute.  Add flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and beat until just combined.  

On a plate, combine 2 tbsp sugar with cinnamon.  Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll into cinnamon/sugar mixture. Repeat until you get 24 dough balls delicioussnickerdoodles2

Lay dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet a few inches apart.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Remove from baking sheets and allow to cool.  Serve and enjoy!  This will make about 2 dozen cookies.

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Remember that vegetables are healthy eats are super important in life, but there’s also room for cookies.  So don’t forget to have one of those occasionally too.

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?  I recently discovered this Molasses cookie with Apricot Chunks from Blackmarket Bakery that I’m in looooove with. I must try to recreate it soon.

Lemon-Rosemary Cut Out Cookies

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find holidays exhausting, and I can’t deal with the over-the-top decorations.  Pinterest is currently reeking of Valentine’s Day.  Everything is red and pink, dipped in chocolate and covered in bright sprinkles.  That’s fun, but sometimes it’s overwhelming.

For me, Valentine’s Day should be unique to you and your special someone.  This Valentine’s Day, skip the red velvet dark chocolate dipped strawberries covered in pink, red and white (<— not an actual thing), and give these a try.

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They’re different, interesting and tasty.  I don’t know about you but I love rosemary and lemon together. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, in my opinion.

And let me just go ahead and say… If you have a tea party, because every once in a while we need to relive our childhood and have full blown tea parties, I’m going to request that you make these cookies. lemonrosemarycookies1

Lemon-Rosemary Cut Out Cookies

adapted from AllRecipes

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
white chocolate chip, sprinkles, royal icing, etc. for decorating

Beat together butter and shortening until fluffy, about a minute.  Add sugar and beat for another 2 minutes.  Add egg and beat another minute.  Add lemon zest and rosemary and beat for 1 minute.  Add flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat until combined.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1-2 hours).

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Roll out dough on a clean floured surface.  Cut to desired shapes. I used small hearts and medium sized hearts, to keep with the Valentine’s day theme, but you can use whatever shape you like.  Lay on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly golden on edges.  The baking time will vary depending on the size of the cookie.  Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

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Once the cookies have cooled, you can serve them as is, or decorate them.  I chose to dip mine in white chocolate and cover them in white sparkling sprinkles.  If you do, just microwave some white chocolate chips, add a bit of oil to get it runnier, then dip and place on parchment paper to harden for a few hours.  Alternatively, you can get your royal icing skillz on and decorate that way.  I gave that a whirl too, but still not pleased with my decorating skills so no pictures of that. lemonrosemarycookies4

You might be thinking: Rosemary in a cookie? Are you nuts?  But it works.  I promise.  Go ahead, take a chance and make these for Valentine’s Day or a tea party.

How do you feel about putting herbs in your sweets?  I’m a big fan of raspberry and sage together!

 

P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Dark Chocolate Dreams Giveaway.  Head over to Facebook and enter by clicking the “Giveaway” tab on my page.

Salted Almond Joy Bark

With Christmas and the New Year on the horizon, I have two goals for today:

1. Clean out my closet/dresser of unwanted garments

I have too much stuff.  I have clothing I don’t wear and even more that doesn’t fit.  One of the fantastic things about lifting weights is that my body shrank.  It’s great! But it means that I don’t own any pants that fit me.  So I want to clear out the stuff that doesn’t fit me any more, because there’s no room in my shoebox of an apartment for clothing that is too big or old.
2. Bake Christmas Cookies for gifts

I love baking and Christmas is the perfect time to bake treats and give them away.  So today and tomorrow will consist of Christmas baking.  I had my recipes all planned out, but then yesterday when I arrived to Crossfit, Allison told me she had something for me.  She handed me a lovely tin filled with homemade salted chocolate coconut almond bark.

At this point it was nearly 6am and not an appropriate time to eat chocolate.  So I put it in my car, got my butt kicked during the WOD and went to work.  I have this rule during the holidays (since there are so many treats floating around) that I’m allowed to have a sweet treat AFTER lunch.

This means waiting til I have a nutritious (or semi-nutritious because yesterday my boss took us to Umami Burger for lunch and that’s clearly NOT nutritious) before enjoying goodies and also cutting down on how much I eat.  I have a hard time stopping once I start, so I found it’s better for me to just start later.  But anyway…

So I waited until after lunch and had a piece of Allison’s delicious bark.

OMG

OMG

OMG

It was awesome.  Let me just tell you, I gave some to co-workers and to Jesse, but the reality is I ate it mostly myself.  Today, as of 2pm… the bark is gone.  As in, I finished it all after lunch today.

Because this bark was so amazing I wanted to try to make it on my own and give it to my loved ones.  I’ve decided to rename it Salted Almond Joy Bark, because that’s sort of what it reminded me of.

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Salted Almond Joy Bark

from Sweet Potato Bites

10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips  (or chocolate chunks)
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted almonds
1/2 cup Roasted Coconut Chips*
Coarse Sea Salt

First, prepare your pan by lining a cookie sheet with parchment.  Set aside.

Next, pour chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.

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Microwave 30 seconds then stir.  Microwave another 30 seconds and stir, repeat until chocolate is melted and smooth. You can also do this in a pan or double boiler, but I’ll be honest, the microwave is a million times easier.  It’s also idiot-proof.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had my chocolate seize when using a double boiler, because water in chocolate (steam included!) might cause it to seize.

Because of this, I take the easy route and use the microwave.  Once your chocolate is melted and smooth, pour about 3/4 of the chocolate into the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Using a spatula, smooth until it’s a tiny bit thick (if you like your bark thicker, leave it thicker, if you want it thinner, spread it more).  It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to cover it with stuff anyway…

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Sprinkle chocolate with coconut and almonds.  Take the remaining chocolate and drizzle it overs the coconut and almonds.

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Sprinkle with sea salt (be generous! That’s seriously the best part!) and refrigerate or freeze until firm.

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Once the chocolate is completely hardened (it took about an hour for me, if not it’ll start to melt when you touch it), break the bark into pieces.

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Store in an air tight container in a cool spot for up to a week.

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*I used Trader Joe’s Roasted Coconut Chips, but if there’s no Trader Joe’s near you, you can just use toasted coconut.

This stuff was seriously amazing.  The salt really takes this from normal tasty chocolate bark to something out of this world.  Everyone that tried it loved it.  I’m really excited to share this with others along with Orange-Pistachio Biscotti, Molasses Cookies, Chocolate Mint Cookies and maybe another cookie or two.  Any suggestions?

Are you giving Christmas Cookies this season?  If so, what are your top cookies or treats to gift?

Molasses Cranberry Cookies

Christmas season is in full swing!  Normally, I’m not that into holidays. But I’m not sure what’s wrong with me this year, all I want is a living room with a Christmas tree.   If you remember back when I told you about where Foodologie happens, you’ll remember that I live in a studio that is teeny-tiny.  That means I have zero room for a Christmas tree.   So because I can’t be festive in my living space, I have to find other ways to make the most of the holiday season.

First, I bought a Christmas dress. A new dress for Christmas is a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember.     Anyone else do that?

I’m thoroughly excited about it.  I also bought myself another dress, because… well…

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Christmas present to myself?  (P.S. When will I get over sending my friends pics of outfits I’m thinking of buying?)

In addition to my Christmas dress, I’ve also been thoroughly excited about cookies.  So cookie making has been happening, starting with these:

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I don’t know about you, but I love chewy molasses cookies with lots of ginger.  They’re pretty much the best, as are these cookies.

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Molasses Cranberry Cookies

adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookies

1 stick of butter + 2 tbsp (10 tbsp total)1 cup sugar (plus extra for rolling)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp mace
1 cup dried cranberries

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in molasses and egg until fluffy.  In a bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Just before ingredients are combine, fold in cranberries.

Chill dough for a few hours.

Once you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F.

Form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in granulated sugar.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  Allow to cool  and serve!  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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I took these to work, shared with friends and a boyfriend. They were gone pretty quickly.  I’ll definitely be including these in my Christmas Cookie Gift Tins.   I have a few other awesome cookie recipes coming up, because seriously… I’m obsessed with cookies right now.

What about you?  How are you preparing for Christmas?  Do you have a Christmas dress yet?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

This week has included a lot of eating.  Jesse and I have our birthdays within a week of each others, which means a lot of celebrations happen at one time.  Now I like to think of birthdays as more than just your birthday.  It really should be a week long celebration.

We started on Monday with an outdoor movie at the Segerstrom Center.  Like any good girlfriend/foodie, I had to pack a picnic…

picnic

I tried to include healthy things, because sometimes we all need some balance.  But see that PB&J chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s.  OMG delicious.  Also, those mason jars are filled with wine (the movie was Mulan, adult grape juice is totally acceptable).  Wondering about the sandwich…

sandwich

Turkey and Cheddar with spinach on a pretzel roll with lots of dijon mustard.  Epic.

Wednesday was Jesse’s birthday for real (you probably remember my ridiculously cheesy blog post.  You’re welcome.).  We went to the Boiling Crab for dinner, where I ate an entire pound of shrimp on my own.  I also made him a creamy pumpkin pie

creamypumpkinpieBecause on your birthday you should get what you want, even if it means pumpkin pie in July.

So as you can tell, there’s been a lot of eating.  But while I’ve been busy eating and celebrating, I’ve also been doing other types of photographing.  Did you know sometimes I take pictures of people?

IMG_0568Needless to say, I haven’t had a lot of time to make things and photograph them for blogging purposes.  So while I take a break before making more exciting new things that I can blog about, let me tell you about something I made a while ago… Remember the Peanut Butter Throwdown?  Oh yeah you still have a few more days to enter the giveaway

Well I was super excited to made dessert for that gathering.  And thus this was born:

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White Chocolate Wonderful Ice Cream

1 cup White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy (a few minutes).  Add half and half and whisk until combined.  Transfer to a saucepan, turn flame on to medium/low.  Continue to stir until mixtures starts to thicken (about 10 minutes).  Lastly, stir in white chocolate wonderful peanut butter and stir until combined.

Keep stirring until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  Then chill for bit until mixture is cold.  Put in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.    Just before ice cream is done, drop in white chocolate chips.  Freeze for a few more hours to set, then serve!

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I had to give this away for fear that I would eat the whole thing in a day.  True story.   It doesn’t matter how sugar loaded I am, there’s always room for ice cream.  Don’t you think?

So go ahead and make this.  Think of me and the fact that my birthday is on Tuesday.

Also, Don’t forget to enter the Peanut Butter & Co. Giveaway to win 6 free jars of Peanut Butter!  Click here to enter!  Don’t be a meany! Share it with your friends so they can get some peanut butter love too!

Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

When a friend comes to visit from across the country, they deserve a treat.  When a friend says she wants a dessert with bacon, you oblige and make these:

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My friend Liz loves bacon more than anyone I know.  We have that bond of former roommates so I know the lady loves meat  (no pun intended, get your mind out of the gutter).

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Lucky for her, bacon in dessert is totally having a moment, or is that just me?  If you haven’t had bacon in a dessert yet, you need to try it asap.  Start with these cookies…

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Peanut Butter Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

3 slices of bacon, fat reserved
1/4 cup softened butter
*
1/2 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted PB)
1 cup chocolate chips

In a pan, fry bacon over medium heat until very crispy.  Reserve fat and allow to cool completely.  Chop bacon and set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Beat together butter, peanut butter and bacon fat (*note if you don’t want to use bacon fat, you can just use 1/2 cup of butter and omit the bacon fat).  Add sugar and beat for an additional minute or two.  Add egg and beat for an additional minute.  Add flour and baking soda (and salt if using) and beat until almost combined.  Lastly, fold in chopped bacon and chocolate chips.

Form dough into walnut-sized balls, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes or until golden on the edges.  Allow to cool completely and serve!  Makes about 2 dozen cookies (or maybe more… I wouldn’t know because I ate a ton of the cookie dough).

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If your friend loves bacon but isn’t a fan of peanut butter… not to worry, I have a solution for you:

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Bacon Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not into cookies (we won’t talk about how blasphemous that is…) but feeling the need to put bacon in a dessert?  How about this Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon?

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Equally delicious and bacon-y.

How do you feel about bacon in desserts? Do you love it? Hate it? Is it over-rated? Never tried it?  Tell me!

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Until about 5 days ago, I thought “brown butter” was a crock of shit.

I hate to be crass, but let’s be honest, food bloggers are some of the best bullshitters I know.  Don’t worry, I’m include myself in that sweeping comment.

I mean really, we love to make basic things and give them a fancy name that hipsters will repin like crazy and drive traffic to our sites.

Examples:

Chocolate Pudding with Peanut Butter Mousse and Maple Candied Bacon = Chocolate Pudding with stuff sprinkled on it

Spinach-Quinoa-Peach Salad with Honey-Sage Vinaigrette= a salad with fruit and grains

You’re welcome.

I’m just calling it like it is.  And you know what hipsters love?

Butter.  Especially brown butter.

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So for a long time, I avoided anything with brown butter, because it just sounded sort of silly, but then on Friday I was bored and I needed to make dessert for the next day.  So I thought to myself, why not give it a shot?

At worst it, it’s still just a damn cookie.  At best, it’s an amazing cookie.

I won’t lie.  It’s a pretty amazing cookie.

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Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from Food and Wine

1 stick of butter
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup dark chocolate chips

In a pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Allow to brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, transfer to large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.  In the meantime, combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.

Once the butter has cooled, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add 1 egg at a time, then vanilla and continue to be beat for about a minute.  Add in flour mixture.  Mix until almost combined. Fold in chocolate chips until dough is just combined.

Place dough in the freezer while oven preheats to 350F.

Once oven has pre-heated, form dough into walnut sized balls.  Place on parchment paper-lined pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden around the edges.

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Remove from oven, leave on pan for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack until cool.  Then serve!  This recipe makes about 20-24 small ish cookies.  If you want larger cookies, bake longer and you’ll probably get about 10.

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So I’m going to go ahead and tell you that these are great.

I’m going to swallow my pride and admit I was wrong.  Brown butter is pretty tasty.  They weren’t lying when they said it gives it a nice nutty flavor.

Ok now be a hipster and…

Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

Sometimes you just don’t want a big commitment.  Saturday, I went on a 16 mile hike up the highest peak in Orange County.  That was a big commitment; there was snow at the top of the mountain.. in Orange County…

I was totally ok with that commitment.

But sometimes, dessert can be a big commitment, especially cakes.

Because of this, I think my 6 inch cake pans were a great investment, and I think this banana cake has been my greatest creation from them so far.

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I actually made this twice, so I can tell you with confidence that it’s doubly tasty.

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Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

adapted from Epicurious

For Cake:
1 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar, heaping
1 egg
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Icing:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add in egg, continue to beat for another minute or two.  Beat in mashed banana, milk, vinegar and vanilla.  Add in flour mixture until well combine.

Pour batter into 2 (6 inch round) cake pans (greased, floured and bottom lined with parchment paper).  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (mine took 25 mins, but yours might differ based on your oven so start checking after 20 mins).  Allow to cool completely.

Make caramel filling.  Melt sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Once sugar starts to melt turn flame to low.  Work out any clumps by stirring.  Once the sugar syrup is a deep amber color, remove from heat stir in butter (mixture will foam a lot but keep stirring), stream in cream as you stir, then stir in vanilla and salt.   Set aside to cool a bit.

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Level off each layer using a serrated knife.  Place your bottom layer crumb side down on a plate (put some pieces of parchment paper around the edges to get a clean frost).  Spread half the caramel in the middle of the cake.  Put second layer on top and spread with remaining caramel.  Caramel should still be warm to the touch but not pourable.  You’ll have to spread it with the wooden spoon and it will smooth out on its own (if you let it cool too much you won’t get a smooth top.  Alternatively if the caramel is too hot, it might flow over the edges, no biggie, you can cover that with icing).

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Next make frosting.  Beat half a cup of heavy cream, once it starts to form soft peaks add in sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until it forms firm peaks.  Frost the cake as desired.  If you plan to frost the entire thing (including the top) and decorate, double the frosting.  I only frosted the sides

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then used a piping bag with a star tip to decorate the edges to leave the caramel exposed.  Both are great, tasty options.

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If you’re ready for a big commitment (aka a full size cake), double the recipe and bake in two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

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Either way, store this cake in the fridge until about 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.  Don’t come complaining to me that your caramel is too hard if you take it out of the fridge and slice it immediately.  Like all commitments, that part needs time too.

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What’s your next commitment?

Please tell me it’s this little banana cake!